Best Bakery 2023 | Bakery Four | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
Bakery Four

Shawn Bergin moved to Denver with dreams of starting a bakery business, but his original small operation quickly outgrew its Highland home. In March of 2022, Bakery Four debuted in a new, expansive space that allows Bergin to make much larger quantities of his sought-after, naturally leavened pastries, bread, bagels and more. There is a line almost daily, and rightfully so, as fans load up on everything from flaky cream-filled cruffins to savory sausage rolls to sandwiches on fresh baguettes. Next up for Bergin: adding a second, bagel-focused concept dubbed Rich Spirit in Wheat Ridge.

Banh & Butter

Banh & Butter, where have you been all our lives? Pastry chef Thoa Nguyen, whose family formerly owned New Saigon restaurant on South Federal Boulevard, debuted her own bakery in April 2022. It's an excellent emporium of flaky sweet nothings, including green tea cruffins, French apple tarts, crêpe cakes, savory Danish and other pretties piled high with ube (purple yam) cream. It's also a banh mi sandwich palace and an East-meets-West coffeehouse where you can order an espresso or a Vietnamese coffee poured over housemade flan. Don't think twice: This East Colfax gem is going in the right direction.

Tom Hellauer

The Spring Fling cake was a signature at Larimer Square staple the Market until it closed in April 2020 after 42 years in business. For nearly three decades, Melchor Ocampo served as the Market's head baker, and now he and his family are bringing back some favorites from the shuttered business, including the much-loved fruit-filled cake. But every cake at Eternal Flavors Bakery is celebration-worthy. Stop by for single slices, or pre-order whole cakes for any occasion...or no occasion at all, because you don't need an excuse to eat cake this good.

Botanical Bakery of Denver

What began as a love of the outdoors and also the kitchen blossomed into a botanical-inspired bakery, aptly named the Botanical Bakery of Denver. Located inside South Broadway plant shop Birdsall & Co., the bakery, which opened in September 2022, spreads whimsy and joy with its tasty pastries and events. Owner and baker Dylah Ray finds inspiration in nature to bring unique flavor pairings to a daily offering of mini pies, scones and croissants. Plant-forward pastries come topped with fresh herbs and colorful edible flowers, like the signature lavender shortbread pansy cookies, so you can have your plant and eat it, too.

Molly Martin

Denver's longest-running cheese shop, Truffle Cheese originally opened in 2001 and is now run by Lisa Morris, who started working at the store part-time when she needed a break from the nine-to-five of her accounting career. Now she's all in on the cheese game. With a knowledgeable and energetic team that includes her son, Samuel Farber, Truffle Cheese turns a visit into way more than a shopping trip; it's also a chance to learn more about the rotating selection of cheeses from around the world, all of which are cut to order. That makes it a must-stop for anyone putting together a board for a picnic, party or simple at-home snacking.

Molly Martin

Denver's diner scene has dwindled in recent years, but it's certainly not dead, as evidenced by this eatery that claims to make "the fastest egg in the West." Founded by Manuel and Trish Gatsiopoulos in 2011, the aptly named Hits the Spot is more than just a speedy fix. The rotating pie cases are filled with tempting options, and the counter seats offer a view of the tasty plates coming through the kitchen window, from pancakes and cinnamon-roll French toast to pork chops and breakfast burritos smothered in the diner's excellent (and gluten-free) green chile.

Danielle Lirette

Late-night food is hard to come by in the Mile High these days, and 24-hour joints are even rarer, but the pancake-flipping neon chef above Pete's Kitchen remains a beacon on East Colfax for those who need to sate their hunger in the darkest hours of the night — on weekends, at least, when the eatery keeps the grill hot all day and overnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Owned by the Contos family since 1988 — and bearing the name of patriarch Pete Contos, who passed away in 2019 — Pete's satisfies like no other, whether you're there for a gyros omelet, a burrito smothered in green chile, or just a burger and fries.

Best Addition to the 16th Street Mall

Little Finch

The 16th Street Mall has long gotten a bad rap — and sometimes for good reason — but that's (finally) beginning to shift as more local business owners opt to open new concepts along the stretch that runs from Union Station to Civic Center Station. In 2023, chef Mary Nguyen, the owner of Olive & Finch, introduced its sister concept, Little Finch, a welcoming all-day cafe that's the perfect place to post up with a laptop while enjoying a pastry and espresso, meet with friends for happy hour or take down a healthy lunch — and everything in between.

Michael Emery Hecker

Entering its fourth year in business, Edgewater Public Market offers a variety of food, drink and retail vendors to satisfy a wide range of visitors. The convenient and easy layout allows patrons to grab a Belgian-style beer at Barquentine Brewing Co. or a cocktail at Roger's Liquid Oasis (which offers all-day happy hour on Mondays) before deciding which food stall to hit. From tacos and empanadas to Ethiopian and Greek fare, the market hosts an appealing assortment, including its newest addition, Black Box Bakery, which offers truly out-of-this-world pastries. Beyond the eats, you can check other to-dos off your list, too, like getting a haircut at True Grit Grooming or a new tattoo at Ink Den.

Chris Byard

Maria Rangel officially launched her food truck, Maíz, in May of 2021. Rangel's love of gorditas inspired her to make a big life change, transitioning from her work as an EMT to the food business to share her passion with the community. Even more inspiring is that Rangel had to overcome a fraudulent food truck fabricator before she could embark on her new career. With her struggles now in the past, she's focused on her food, using fresh corn masa to make a variety of deep-fried gorditas inspired by her mother-in-law's recipe, with fillings like chorizo and potato, corn and squash, and eggs and cheese. Rangel also delivers a big punch with her stellar green chile, and all of her dishes are gluten-free. Find out where to get in on this goodness through Instagram or on the truck's website.

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