Andrew Knowlton, the appointed "Foodest" at Bon Appetit magazine -- and the guy who named Boulder America's Foodiest Town in 2010 -- has just released his listacle of the country's fifty Best New Restaurant nominees, and two Denver restaurants -- their names won't surprise you -- made the cut.
See also: - Chef and Tell with Max Mackissock of Squeaky Bean - Bon Appetit calls ChoLon one of the best places in the country for "new Asian fusion" - Exclusive first look: Old Major is now open in Highland
Knowlton, claims the glossy pub, "spent countless hours and traveled thousands of miles in search of America's Best New Restaurants," and somewhere along his journey, it appears that he stopped in the Mile High City, en route back to the Big Apple, where he just unleashed his top fifty Best New Restaurant nominees, including Old Major, the "elevated farmhouse" restaurant in Lower Highland that opened in February of this year with exec chef Justin Brunson commanding the kitchen. "Pig-centric and nose-to-tail. Reclaimed wood and farmer-focused. Sure, it's a tried-and-true formula from Portland to Portland, but the crew at Old Major excel because they execute it perfectly, from the in-house butchery and rock-solid charcuterie program to the chill, we're-all-friends-here vibe of the former roller rink," writes Knowlton, who clocked more than 26,000 miles during his culinary sojourn.
His second Denver pick? Squeaky Bean, where exec chef -- and James Beard semi-finalist -- Max MacKissock, declares, Knowlton, is making things "interesting" with his "wide-ranging four-course prix fixe, with offbeat dishes like congee and leg of Colorado lamb."
Both restaurants have generated similar praise in Denver and across the country, and in a piece I recently wrote in the London Guardian, I named the Squeaky Bean as one of the top ten restaurants to eat if you're visiting Denver. Gretchen Kurtz, Westword's restaurant critic, also heaped love on the restaurant, calling MacKissock and his team "mad geniuses." And in her review of Old Major, Kurtz admits that pig fiends are going "hog wild" for Brunson's whimsical plays on pork.
Knowlton will unveil his top ten winners from the list of fifty on August 14. But whether or not they make the short list, Old Major and Squeaky Bean are already winners in our book.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.