First Look

First Look: Blue Agave Grill Expands from Fort Collins to 16th Street Mall

Richard and Brenda Lucio have owned restaurants in Colorado for the past eighteen years, and added Blue Agave Grill in Fort Collins to their portfolio two and a half years ago. Now the couple has expanded to Denver, adding an outpost of Blue Agave Grill on the 16th Street Mall between Larimer and Lawrence streets.

Richard Lucio describes the menu at the new eatery as "contemporary Southwestern cuisine," noting that the food is "a little lighter than traditional Mexican fare."

The menu comprises a range of grilled meats and seafood along with upscale version of tostadas (topped with smoked salmon), enchiladas (stuffed with lobster) and burritos (layered with flank steak). You won't find blankets of molten yellow cheese or lakes of green chile on any of the plates; instead, look for pumpkin-espresso bisque beneath a sous-vide beef tenderloin; pan-seared sea scallops atop chipotle goat-cheese mashed potatoes; and even a selection of pasta dishes like wild-mushroom-and-clam spaghetti or fettuccine Alfredo — both warmed up with Japanese chiles.

On the bar side, four margaritas — two made with house-infused tequilas — are available as a flight, or choose from a selection of more than eighty agave spirits. Happy hour includes $4 and $5 food specials along with drink deals, and mid-week brings wine-down Wednesday, with discounts on wine by the bottle.
The owners chose the location for Blue Agave — right next to the Cheesecake Factory, in a space that once held Ambria Food & Wine — because of the proximity to Larimer Square, the theater district, the Pepsi Center and other downtown attractions. "I want to feel confident that the restaurant will be popular not just this year or next, but in ten years," Lucio explains. "It's always going to be a sweet spot."

Blue Agave Grill is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and  Friday and Saturday from from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. See our complete Blue Agave Grill slideshow for more photos of the food and decor.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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