First Look

Biscuits, Pizza and Beer Ride Into Berkeley With Tennyson Street Atomic Cowboy

The latest biscuit kitchen/bar/pizzeria combo under the Atomic Cowboy umbrella opened at 8 a.m. this morning on Tennyson Street, completing a Denver triangle of founder Drew Shader's three-in-one concept that started on East Colfax Avenue more than a decade ago and expanded to South Broadway in 2013. True to the other locations, the newest Atomic Cowboy includes breakfast from the Denver Biscuit Company and late-night New York-style pizza from Fat Sully's Pizza.

The new location captures much of the iconography of the original, with spaced-out cowboy art (check out the mural-sized artwork by Scott McCormick depicting a cowboy stampede being invaded by helmeted spacemen), loungy furnishings, neon signs and board games. There's also the familiar walk-up window to grab a Fat Sully's slice; the bottomless, serve-yourself coffee bar featuring an Atomic house blend from Boxcar Coffee Roasters; and the elevated bar area that looks out onto the dining area and through the expansive windows along Tennyson and West 43rd Avenue.

Shader says the new addition to the family won't stray far from his proven formula; for now, hours will be 8 a.m. until 2 a.m. daily, at least until his team has a chance to evaluate the flow of business to see if the Berkeley neighborhood is ready for late-night pizza. Unlike the other locations, this one is geared for the stroller set. "We're starting out with ten high chairs," Shader explains," which is crazy for us." Plans are also in the works for stroller parking out front.

"One thing we heard is that people here like wine," he adds. So the bar will pay a little more attention to wine drinkers, while also offering its usual range of craft beers and cocktails.

The space isn't huge, but feels airy and open thanks to the vintage vaulted ceiling that once arched over a neighborhood grocery and then a dance studio. And you'll find the same fluffy biscuits and giant slices of pizza. "We do what we do — we focus on simple perfection," Shader notes.

The original Atomic Cowboy on Colfax was opened by Leigh Jones (current owner of the Bar Car, the Horseshoe Lounge and Inga's Alpine Lounge, among others), but Shader took over several months later in 2004 and has developed the concept into what it is today.  Keep reading for more photos from the new Atomic Cowboy.

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Mark Antonation is the former Westword Food & Drink Editor. In 2018, he was named Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he's now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
Contact: Mark Antonation