It seems like such an obvious idea: a restaurant dedicated entirely to the glory of the pig, serving pork and pork products. And yet Denver had no all-pig restaurant until Andy Ganick came along. His brainchild is the Berkshire, a restaurant whose menu is like something out of the sickest, most indulgent food fantasies: all pig, all the time. Pig for lunch, pig for brunch (a plate of bacon and a can of Pabst as the house "hangover special"), pig for dinner (bacon flights!) and a little pig in between. Almost every plate has pork worked into it somehow; if Ganick could get away with it, he'd even garnish the bar's cocktails with pig. But there is bacon-infused vodka for those who like to take their pig in liquid form. We go hog wild for the Berkshire.
Tocabe: An American Indian Eatery
Mark Manger
While American Indian food may be the original American cuisine, not many of us have experienced much past fry bread. But Tocabe, a new fast-casual spot that got its start in Denver, does a perfect job of fusing the old with the new. In a Chipotle-esque setting, and at Chipotle-esque prices, you can get Medicine Wheel Nachos and delicious green chile, as well as pillowy fry bread. Made to order, these delicious edible plates are ideal for holding a variety of meats (including buffalo) and other toppings, as well as a slightly spicy ancho-chile sauce. Conclude your meal with more fry bread topped with honey, and you're guaranteed to become one with nature.
Steuben's Uptown
Cassandra Kotnik
Shrimp and grits. Buffalo chicken wings and Rhode Island calamari. Memphis ribs, Louisiana etouffee, Maine lobster rolls and Chicago-style hot dogs. Steuben's isn't just an American restaurant, it's an All-American restaurant — a restaurant dedicated to the preservation and glorification of our mutt, immigrant canon; our staples and standards; our occasional flashes of brief genius. And while opinions may differ as to whether Steuben's is making the best version of some regional favorite, opinions always differ on every regional favorite. The fights over the Steuben's recipe for trout amandine, its green-chile cheeseburger or the truck-stop chocolate cake started even before the place opened, and they haven't stopped yet. The probably never will. And they all make for delicious conversation over a meal in this popular, comfortable hangout.
Marco's Coal Fired
Mark Antonation
You could cut the kitchen right out of the center of Marco's, airlift it to Rome, set it down in the middle of that city — and any Italian cook could step right up and get back to business. But we'd miss that kitchen, because it's the heart of a great, hip new hangout in the Ballpark neighborhood. The ovens here are serious fire-breathing monsters that can blister up a fine pie in sixty seconds. The crusts are made fresh with the best flour in the world: Italian flour. And everything — everything — is done in accordance with the rules set down by various Italian pizza-certifying bodies that get their kicks by traveling all over the world and telling people if they're making their pizzas properly. Marco's is, and owner Mark Dym has the paperwork to prove it. But more important, Marco's excellent pies prove that sometimes the old ways are the right ways and the best ways, and that one diverges from tradition only at one's own risk.
City Bakery
Cassandra Stiltner
Want to know who made the great bread you had at that restaurant last night? Odds are good that it was City Bakery, the bakery and dessert-a-teria started last year by freaky bread savant Michael Bortz. Bortz started out in Denver as an independent, then went corporate as a baker for Paradise Bakery when the chain started making some serious moves in town. And then he went indie again, taking most of his wholesale contracts with him. The result is a bakery that supplies the best bread in the city to some of the best restaurants in the city, seven days a week. Baking isn't an easy job, so we're lucky to have Bortz looking out for us. If we had to, we really could live on bread — his bread — alone.
Big Hoss Bar-B-Q
No other BBQ joint can touch the shrimp at Big Hoss — and we can't keep our hands off them. Served in a trough and doused with Hoss Orwat's special sauce, they're as close as you can come in Denver to the taste of the vinegar-sharp and spice-shot barbecue of the South Carolina tidewater region. And once you're done with the shrimp, pour the rest of that thin sauce over a plate of pulled pork brought naked from the kitchen. An order or two of shrimp, a couple PBRs off the tap, maybe a side of fried cheese and a Jim-Beam-and-Coke float for dessert, and you're well on your way to another memorable night at Hoss Orwat's house.
Yazoo Barbeque Company
Cassandra Kotnik
Small place, big flavor. Sometimes we crave Yazoo's amazing pulled pork, at other times its ribs. But once when we stopped in for ribs, the tiny kitchen was out, so indeed we got a BOB — chicken breast wrapped in bacon and jalapeños. then smoked — and almost died from pleasure right on the spot. In fact, the only problem with Yazoo is that it sells out of certain things so quickly that we can't always get what we happen to be craving at that moment. But that's not a very big problem, because there's always another great option. Adding a second outlet down south has helped expand supply, but we remain faithful to the small downtown spot, which just keeps pouring out that big, big flavor.
Bacon is already cured. In some cases, it's even smoked before it ever makes it to your table. So why not barbecue it again, Korean style? At Han Kang, a big plate of raw bacon, cut into easy-to-eat chunks, is brought to the table with one of those propane-fired portable grills. Throw on the pork, let it cook, and prepare to pig out. (The menu says this is a dish for sharing, but if you've ever wanted to eat an entire pound of bacon by yourself, Han Kang is definitely the place.) A bowl of garlic oil comes with the bacon, but a spread of alien side dishes also arrives with every order, ensuring new taste treats with every bacon-y bite.

Best BBQ in the Last Place You'd Expect It

Jim 'N Nick's

Jim 'n Nick's Bar-B-Q
Hunter Stevens
It's not odd to find good barbecue in Aurora, but it is unexpected to stumble across good barbecue in a gigantic outdoor mall. Because who in their right mind would go to a spot like Southlands looking for pulled pork and cornbread? And who would imagine that you could not only find it here, but you could get that good 'cue from a drive-thru? While the location may be weird, it's also welcome when you're driving around the 'burbs and the pork jones hits. Because Jim 'N Nick's takes its barbecue very seriously. Everything is made from scratch, and the 'cue goes through a twelve-hour smoke. And if your diet needs a little more starch, order the Pig in the Potato Patch, a baked potato loaded down with smoked bacon, butter, sour cream, cheese, barbecue sauce and more pulled pork. This spud's for you.
Big Papa's BBQ
On the best days, you can smell Big Papa's from across the parking lot. On the best days, you somehow manage to sneak in between the rushes and be out of the place in ten minutes, tops, with an order of Denver's best ribs. But even on bad days, those ribs are good enough to turn everything else around.

Best Of Denver®

Best Of