Openings and Closings

Restaurant Openings Aren't Slowing Down in December

Jared Leonard is now serving these burgers at Hamburger Stan, inside Zeppelin Station.
Jared Leonard is now serving these burgers at Hamburger Stan, inside Zeppelin Station. Mark Antonation
Our roster of the fifteen best new restaurants of 2019 (so far) came out last week, and some of those newcomers rated inclusion in "Eat Here," our list of 100 favorite Denver restaurants that made the cover of the December 12 issue. But as the year draws to a close, chefs and restaurateurs are still scrambling to debut some fun new places even in the middle of the busy holiday season, and we wouldn't want their efforts to get buried under mountains of wrapping paper or snow.

click to enlarge Highland residents now have a Cart-Driver of their own. - LAURA SHUNK
Highland residents now have a Cart-Driver of their own.
Laura Shunk
Last week, Cart-Driver owners Andy Niemeyer, Mark Licata and Andrew Birkholz debuted the second location of their pizzeria and Italian street-food eatery located inside a converted shipping container at 2500 Larimer Street in RiNo. (Like so many other spots, the original Cart-Driver was a strong competitor for the 101st "Eat Here" spot.) The new Cart-Driver, at 2239 West 30th Avenue, is far larger than the first, occupying the former homes of Z Cuisine and Z Cuisine À Côté, as well as an art gallery that separates the two other spaces. Birkholz says there will be many new surprises on the menu once the restaurant gets into full swing in the coming weeks.

Also adding a second spot is Chook Charcoal Chicken, the Aussie-style roast-chicken joint launched by chef Alex Seidel, restaurateur Adam Schlegel (who co-founded Snooze) and Randy Layman at 1300 South Pearl Street in 2018. Chook's second spot is slated for a Friday, December 20, opening at 4340 East Eighth Avenue, an address Schlegel says the team selected because of its similarity in neighborhood demographics to the Platt Park original.

click to enlarge Chicken is coming to the Hale neighborhood. - MARK ANTONATION
Chicken is coming to the Hale neighborhood.
Mark Antonation
Just over two years ago, we reported that entrepreneur George Gatsis was leaving the tech world to open a combination urban farm, market and restaurant called Grow & Gather in Englewood. The entire operation is now ready for the public, with the Feedery Neighborhood Kitchen + Market open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily and the market portion of the project open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., with a coffee bar, housemade grab-and-go items and a selection of retail goods from local purveyors. The restaurant and market are both located inside the former Bill's Auto Service building at 900 East Hampden Avenue; Gatsis has converted the circa 1952 structure into an appealing, modern space. The farm is actually a hydroponic greenhouse, so it can turn out fresh greens, herbs and other produce year-round, supplying many ingredients for the food served/sold there. There's also an outdoor garden and off-site micro-farm to supplement the menu during the growing season.


The founders of Frasca Food and Wine, Pizzeria Locale and Tavernetta are launching their first non-Italian venture this Sunday, December 22. The aptly named Sunday Vinyl, which takes over the space previously occupied by Local(ish) Market at 1803 16th Street, is Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey's long-planned wine bar, bolstered by an audiophile's dream collection of turntables, speakers and other high-tech gear intended to deliver a listening experience as profound as the fermented juice in the bottles. A menu of snacks, small plates and entrees from chef Charlie Brooks continues the tradition of excellence started at Frasca way back in 2004.

click to enlarge Audiophiles are likely to be impressed by the McIntosh equipment and Sonus Faber speakers at Sunday Vinyl. - MARK ANTONATION
Audiophiles are likely to be impressed by the McIntosh equipment and Sonus Faber speakers at Sunday Vinyl.
Mark Antonation
The dudes who have been dishing up some of the metro area's best burritos from a humble trailer in Golden now have a permanent roof over their heads — and a bar to go with it. Bonfire Burritos completed its move from 7025 South Golden Road to its new headquarters at 2221 Ford Street, and is now wrapping up popular burritos like the Jackalope, Chupacabra and Javelina, all bulging with various combos of eggs, hash browns, meats, sauces and green chile. You'll still be able to score your breakfast burrito as early as 6 a.m. every weekday, and then you can hang out over beers and tacos until 9 or 10 p.m. every night.

And in Zeppelin Station (3501 Wazee Street), chef Jared Leonard just unveiled Hamburger Stan, a burger counter serving what he unabashedly describes as "fast food." The signature burger is a double stack of smashed beef-and-bacon blend, with plenty of oozy cheese (American, of course), onions, house pickles and a secret sauce. Leonard also recently opened Grabowski's, a pizzeria specializing in Chicago tavern-style pies (think thin-crust pizza cut into squares), in the Source, and runs Budlong Hot Chicken inside Zeppelin Station, as well as AJ's Pit Bar-B-Q at 2180 South Delaware Street, where he's currently taking reservations for upcoming Barbecue 101 classes in the new year.

Not a bad haul of shiny new eats to end the year.
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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