Best Kids' Menu 2022 | Acova | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
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.

Molly Martin

Carmine 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.

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.

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.
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.

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.

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.

Molly Martin

This small, family-owned spot has been specializing in wings for two decades, and the experience shows. The wings are on the smaller side, but with tender meat, a nice, crisp bite and a whopping 46 killer sauce and dry-rub options, size really doesn't matter. Not sure where to start? The garlic parmesan is a customer favorite, while the hot honey mustard offers a sweet and tangy experience with a kick. Orders are placed at the counter, and you can go half-and-half on flavors when getting wings by the pound — an essential move if you're looking for variety. Wing Hut also has a lineup of Cajun items, including po'boys, gumbo and fried okra, but our favorite wing side remains the classic curly fries.

Linnea Covington

The slow-cooked, grilled wings at King of Wings definitely live up to the name of the place, but the business itself has had a rough go. Two friends with no prior restaurant experience started it as a food truck before opening a brick-and-mortar location in June 2020, in the midst of pandemic uncertainty. Then, as it was gaining momentum, a December kitchen fire forced King of Wings to close. The restaurant is planning a comeback, but in the meantime, owners Eddie Renshaw and Evan Pierce have let other small businesses hold pop-ups in the space.

Molly Martin

This soul-food spot is a hidden gem tucked a block off Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The outside may not look particularly welcoming, with its caged-in windows and barred door, but you'll find a comforting vibe (and a bar) inside, along with a menu full of comfort-food classics including — as the name suggests — chicken. And, oh, what glorious chicken it is, fried to order and seasoned to perfection, with a thin but crispy coating giving way to moist meat underneath. Pair it with sides like mac and cheese or slow-cooked collards with shreds of ham hock for a home-style Southern feast with plenty of friendly hospitality thrown in.

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