More and more restaurants are reopening after the coronavirus shutdowns, some with new ideas to add flavor and spice to summer dining. Expanded patios, takeout offerings, new lunches and new themes are all on the menu at these five eateries.
The Cherry Cricket2641 East Second Avenue
Denver's original burger bar, the Cherry Cricket, has been open for takeout and delivery since mid-March, and reopened its dining room the first week of June. But today (Friday, June 26), the bar and grill unveils its new "Burger Garden," which takes over the parking lot at the back of the building. Cushy turf covers half of the spacious patio, while colorful pavement art painted by Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy students (who received gift cards in exchange for their labor) decorates the other half. The back fence will serve as a community wall where guests can hang messages and mementos after enjoying the Cricket's full selection of burgers, green chile and other bar grub. Touchless menus and pay are in the works, adding a little tech to the outdoor experience. The Burger Garden will be open during the Cricket's normal business hours as long as the weather permits.
Coperta400 East 20th Avenue
The only taste we've had of Uptown's Coperta and its sibling, Beast + Bottle, since March 15, is the Saturday farm stands at Beast + Bottle selling Ollin Farms produce and pre-made foods from the B + B kitchen and other local producers. But Coperta just launched takeout and delivery service, so the Italian restaurant's full menu is now available for you to enjoy at home. Go à la carte or choose from more than a dozen meal kits, including a pizza package that lets you assemble and bake your own pies. Wine, beer and cocktails are also available, including Aperol spritz kits and batched drinks that serve eight or nine drinkers. Call 720-749-4666 or order online from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Happy Go Lucky501 East 17th Avenue
Ace Eat Serve recently reopened its dining room for dinner guests, but one thing you haven't been able to get from the pan-Asian eatery for years is lunch — until now. Chef Thach Tran just introduced Happy Go Lucky, a takeout lunch concept serving a variety of poke bowls. Choices include the Slammin' Salmon, Sassy Tuna, Hama-Hama and a meatless Avocado Queen. Add bao doughnut holes or matcha sugar cookies for a sweet finish. Tran says he uses the best quality fish (not frozen cubes) he can obtain, and all the sauces are made in-house. Lunch is served from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; order from Happy Go Lucky's DoorDash site.
Lou's Italian Specialties3357 Downing Street
New Jersey native Joshua Pollack continues to load Denver up with East Coast eats, whether at Rosenberg's Bagels & Deli, Famous Original J's Pizza or Lou's Italian Specialties. The restaurateur is diving deeper into New Jersey foodways with a slider pop-up happening every Friday evening starting tonight (Friday, June 26). Pollack's sliders are a tribute to White Manna, a Hackensack icon since 1946. Come from 5 to 8 p.m. for the mini-burgers ($3 for a single or $5 for a double), or stop by from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday for Lou's regular lineup of Italian deli sandwiches and other specialties. A newly expanded patio offers seating so you can enjoy your sandwiches in the open air without having to lug the hefty heroes home.
Route 40 Cafe2550 East Colfax Avenue
The Goods, at the Lowenstein Theater Complex, recently rebranded and is opening this weekend with a new menu, theme and name: Route 40 Cafe. The change comes with a new installation of the Colfax Museum inside, and plenty of well-spaced seating outside. Sure bets are the burgers, a classic peach-glazed pork chop with mashed potatoes, and comforting breakfast platters served all day. Call 303-355-5445 for hours and reservations before you go, as COVID-19 restrictions are currently limiting table availability.
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.