Flautas and pho: Federal Boulevard update

Federal Boulevard is filled with constantly evolving views of construction, commerce and change. No sooner does a Vietnamese restaurant close up shop than a new pho joint opens in its place. There's a little less churn with Mexican eateries, but new spots occasionally pop up. Driving up Federal this week, I was excited to see signs of a new place at 925 South Federal -- bolted down fiberglass picnic tables on the street-facing patio -- until my appetite was killed by the discovery that it will just be another KFC outlet. Still, it's not the only recent change on the boulevard.

See also: Triple header: The three newest restaurants on Federal Boulevard

Pho Market, which opened earlier this year in the original location of Pho 95, is already seeing change. The noodle house's yellow-and-blue sign with the stylized steaming bowl of pho is still the same, but the name has changed to Chez Thuy. Yes, it shares a name with the Boulder Chez Thuy that's been around since 1993, which makes sense since owner Thuy Le was involved in the opening of Pho Market. No phone number was available for the new Chez Thuy, but a call to the Boulder location confirmed the connection between the two places, although I was told the Denver menu would not be the same as the original in Boulder. Expect pho and bun bowls with a few other traditional snacks and entrees.

And speaking of originals, Denver may now have its first flauta-themed restaurant: Flautas la Pila. Located in what looks like little more than a freshly painted Tuff Shed attached to the side of an existing row of businesses, La Pila offers a menu anchored by flautas stuffed with desebrada (shredded beef), potato, shrimp or chicken, but which also touts a salchitaco -- nothing more than a hot dog rolled in a tortilla and deep-fried -- as well as salads, tostadas, quesadillas and other street grub. The logo, featuring an anthropomorphic deep-fried tube with shredded beef for hair is certainly a promising sign.

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