The Denver Central Market
Danielle Lirette

From your morning coffee run to lunch meetings on the patio and evening cocktails at Curio Bar, Denver Central Market is an all-day destination for all things delicious in the heart of RiNo. Its eleven vendors sell everything from pizza, raw oysters and charcuterie boards to ice cream and gourmet chocolate — but this isn't just a place for dining in. The vendors here also offer baked goods, meats, specialty foods and pantry items for home use so that you can pick up dinner essentials while grabbing a lunch sandwich to go.

The Golden Mill
Molly Martin

Housed in a circa 1860 grain mill overlooking Clear Creek, the airy Golden Mill food hall also boasts a rooftop patio with views of Coors Brewery. But even without the ambience and ample seating, this would be a prime destination for food and drinks. On the ground floor, the self-pour tap system makes for easy access to a well-curated list of beverage selections, and there are several stalls with options like fried chicken sandwiches, barbecue and tacos. Upstairs you’ll find a hidden gem: Sushi Sora, which serves some of the best sushi in metro Denver.

Yuan Wonton
Penelope Wong

Since quitting her executive-chef job of twenty years, practicing her dumpling skills for the better part of a year, building out a food truck and launching Yuan Wonton in late 2019, chef Penelope Wong has been serving some of the best food on wheels — and in Denver, period. Through the pandemic, she navigated ways to deliver her much sought-after dumplings and other specials safely, moving to a pre-ordering system with pick-up times. Now she's back to more regular services, with customers happily waiting in line for whatever Wong's got on the menu that day. The pro move is to order one of everything so you don't miss out on anything.

instagram.com/yuanwonton
Acova
Danielle Lirette

While a lot of kids' menus offer chicken fingers, cheeseburgers and grilled cheese, Acova — often lauded for the whimsical names on its roster — gives these staples real flavor. Save for the pasta dishes, each freshly made meal comes with a side of homemade chips, cut veggies, fruit or regular or sweet-potato fries, as well as the knowledge that you're not just feeding your little ones, but also giving back to the community: For every item ordered off the kids' menu, Acova donates $2 to a local children's charity, which changes each month.

Carmine Lonardo's
Molly Martin

Lonardo's, a family-owned Italian market and deli, has been around since 1976, and it's way more than a sandwich shop. The cozy shop's shelves are lined with imported pasta of all shapes and sizes, olive oil, canned goods, frozen foods like housemade sausages and so much more. Still, the sandwiches — huge, messy masterpieces loaded onto freshly baked rolls, which you can custom-order with that Italian sausage and a variety of other meats in hot and cold varieties — are unbeatable, and reason enough to visit.

Best Sandwich of the Week
Linnea Covington

We don't mean to disrespect a pizza parlor by giving it an award for sandwiches: This Berkeley neighborhood restaurant founded by Drew and Leah Watson makes a mean slice, traditional and otherwise, and Thursday's $5 Detroit pie special could be the best weekly pizza deal in town. But we can't let you miss out on the sandwich of the week. Monstrous portions of pulled pork, chicken parm cutlets, smoked tri tip, Korean and Nashville fried chicken or turducken routinely fill the eatery's homemade bread, and that's just the start of the mouthwatering options; you might also be lucky enough to get an aged white cheddar grilled cheese with duck confit, crispy prosciutto and cherry-habanero jam, or even a chicken pot pie calzone. The real star, though, remains Leah's grandmother's meatball sub, made with provolone, caramelized onions and a balsamic reduction.

Best Pop-Up
Molly Martin
AJ Shreffler knows good hoagies. Growing up outside of Philadelphia, he was raised on old-school deli fare, and after moving to Denver, he began hosting secret hoagie pop-ups while working as a chef at Bar Dough. During the indoor-dining shutdown, the restaurant started slinging Shreffler’s hoagies as the Jabroni & Sons pop-up – but now Shreffler has struck out on his own and is working to open a Little Arthur’s Hoagies brick and mortar, one pop-up at a time. Pre-sales run out in minutes, and fans have been known to wait hours in line to get their hands on these massive creations. Whether it’s a classic cheesesteak or one of Little Arthur’s many other creations, these hoagies are 100 percent legit. littlearthur.com
Zaidy's Deli
Jeff Fierberg

When Beth Ginsberg and her partner bought the 35-year-old Zaidy's and resurrected it in the Virginia Vale neighborhood in 2021, they brought along most of the menu, including the Jewish deli's classic Reuben. For $16.50, you get a huge sandwich laden with corned beef, Russian dressing, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut, all grilled together on homemade seeded rye bread. It's the perfect balance of tangy, sweet, meaty and cheesy; get the dish with a side of potato salad, chips or fries laced with Zaidy's own secret spice mix. Although at first glance this sandwich may look like enough for two meals, after a couple of bites, you'll know the whole thing will be devoured in one sitting.

Lunchboxx
Molly Martin

The first new spot at Denver Central Market since its debut five years ago, Lunchboxx opened in August 2021 with a slew of (mostly) healthy options that are ideal for lunch breaks. Among the offerings from chef Zach Spott (who also runs GreenSeed at the market and was formerly chef at now-closed LoDo cocktail bar Brass Tacks) is a must-eat sandwich with craggy, crunchy buttermilk fried chicken glazed with gochujang honey. It's served on a sesame brioche bun and gets a hit of brightness from cherry pepper slaw and chile lime mayo for a balanced yet flavor-packed experience.

Music City Hot Chicken
Kevin Kirshner

Sure, hot chicken is everywhere right now. But back in 2016, when the original Music City Hot Chicken opened in Fort Collins, there were no other restaurants specializing in this regional dish from Nashville. Even though the competition has heated up, MCHC's big, juicy sandwiches, crispy tenders, vegan versions, stellar sides and varying heat levels (including a green chile-spiked option) make this the hottest ticket in town — especially since it opened a Denver outpost inside TRVE Brewing in 2021.

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