First look: Chili Verde reopens in a new, much improved space on Federal

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In February, brothers Hanzel and Eder Yáñez shuttered Chili Verde, their Mexican restaurant in LoHi that celebrated the cuisine of Puebla. The weather-beaten building, with its chipped white paint, had also suffered a fire, rendering the restaurant inhabitable for weeks. But on Saturday, the brothers, along with manager Custo Avalos, reopened Chili Verde in a new space at 2311 Federal Boulevard, in Jefferson Park. "The former building was really old and needed a ton of work, plus our lease was up, so it was a good opportunity for us to find a better building in a better location," says Avalos, adding that the lease was signed in March.

See also: Chili Verde closes, looking for a new location

"There's a lot more street appeal here, we love the inside, and we're excited to be in a neighborhood where a lot of really great new restaurants have opened and will continue to open. This is an area that's definitely taking off, and we're looking forward to being a part of that energy," says Avalos.

The space, tinted lime green and white -- the same color palette as at the former Chili Verde -- is larger than the original and features light wood tables draped with white tablecloths, a fourteen-seat bar, rusticated red brick, a partially exposed kitchen and a side patio strewn with wrought-iron tables and chairs.

"There's still some work to do on the patio," stresses Avalos, "but when we're done fixing it up, it's going to be a really cozy place to hang out." And having the bar, he adds, is a huge improvement over the old space. "There wasn't really anywhere for people to just linger over a cocktail or a beer, because the bar was super-small, and while we're a family-friendly restaurant, it's nice to have a bigger, more visible bar area for people who just want to come in for a drink and a few appetizers," he notes.

Chili Verde's menu remains largely untouched, save for the additions of a new salad, a vegetarian tamale and a few crepes, but an entirely new weekend brunch menu will hit the tables next Saturday, and a happy hour that runs daily from 3 to 6 p.m. (and during the Denver Bronco games) headlines drink specials and $2 tacos, including carne asada, carnitas, pork belly, tinga and a vegetarian option. A small wine list strengthened by a glut of Mexican beers and numerous cocktails, including a dozen fresh-squeezed margaritas, round out the beverage board.

Here's a first look at the second incarnation of Chili Verde, which is open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Sunday.

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