When restaurateur Delores Tronco returned to Denver from New York City to open the Greenwich, a restaurant inspired by NYC with homages to the city filling the space, she brought along chef Justin Freeman. He, in turn, brought years of cooking experience — and his wife, infant son and sourdough starter, which he held between his knees while he drove to keep it safe. He uses that starter in the dough for the Greenwich's stellar pizzas, which are topped smartly with combos like Colorado lamb meatballs and honey labneh. Then there are the heaping plates of perfectly roasted chicken, and the freshly baked bread, and the elevated takes on simple veggie dishes like creamed spinach with brown-butter hazelnuts and fresh horseradish. This is supremely shareable food that is supremely executed; we hope Freeman keeps cooking it for Denver for a long time to come.

La Diabla Pozole y Mezcal
Molly Martin

We may live in a taco-saturated city, but it's impossible to beat Jose Avila's dedication to traditional Mexican dishes and cooking techniques that are uncommon in Denver. He's a 2022 James Beard Award finalist in the Best Chef, Mountain division for his Sunday-only series, El Borrego Negro, in which he cooks sheep barbacoa Hidalgo-style, in an hoyo (an outdoor pit oven). But you don't have to wait until Sunday to get a taste of Avila's talent thanks to La Diabla, which he opened in June 2021. It's Colorado's first pozoleria, where you can get huge bowls of the soup in four varieties (blanco, negro, verde and rojo). But pozole is just the start. Here you can also find specialties like relleno negro (turkey cooked in a black sauce), costras (meat wrapped in griddled cheese), pambazos (sandwiches dipped in guajillo chile sauce) and much more. And if you see a rotating stack of slowly roasting meat on a trompo outside of the restaurant, you know the first thing you must order.

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