This week's Watch List covers a hot new chicken joint, a Cherry Creek fish house with a lobster deal, and a South Broadway breakfast stop that knows exactly what to do with a potato — all places with dishes that balance textures in winning combinations. After that, check out our complete list of bar and restaurant openings for the week of July 15 through 21, 2017.
800 East 26th Avenue
The Park Burger team knows sandwiches, so swapping out a burger patty for a crispy, juicy, fried-chicken breast seems like just more of a good thing. Put it on a toasted, squishy bun and add savory sauces and clickbait toppings like smoky bacon and coleslaw studded with blue cheese,and you've got a recipe for lines out the door. The restaurant itself — which opened this week in the former home of Tom's — is stripped back and streamlined, keeping prices low and quality high. What's for dessert? Make it a red-velvet milkshake for a full-on Southern onslaught.
Blue Island Oyster Bar
2625 East Second Avenue
Blue Island is on a roll — a lobster roll. The Cherry Creek oyster bar and fish house just rolled out four different versions of the New England favorite to go with its classic original made with lemon mayonnaise and celery. There's a slightly austere model made with garlic-herb butter; a Tokyo roll amped up with ginger-lime mayo, sesame, togarashi and cucumber; a Mile High roll with chipotle aioli, avocado, bacon, Bibb lettuce and tomato; and the New Yorker, loaded with with celery, tomato, lemon mayo and bread-and-butter pickles. Even better is the price: At an attractive $15, you won't find a better lobster deal in town. But don't go for dinner; the deal is only good for weekday lunch and weekend brunch.
2160 South Broadway
Housemade tater tots? Yes, please. Restaurant critic Gretchen Kurtz leapt into a crunchy bowl of Morning Collective's fried spuds and declared them even better than the frozen bags at the supermarket that everyone loves. That's because this new breakfast joint on South Broadway also adds ham and cheddar to the potato mix, then uses the tots as a base for a number of dishes, including a hearty bowl of green chile, chorizo and eggs. Fat, salt, spice and crunch — that's what taps into Denver's collective morning craving.
Here's our complete list of restaurant and bar openings and closings this week:
Bars and Restaurants Opening This Week:*
Birdcall, 800 East 26th Avenue
French 75, 717 17th Street
Greenlight Lab, 1336 27th Street
Insomnia Cookies, 2075 University Boulevard
Pizza Republica, 686 South Colorado Boulevard, Glendale
Bars and Restaurants Closing This Week:*
Desmond Bar & Grill, 2230 Oneida Street
Stapleton Tap House, 8286 Northfield Boulevard
Wok Hei, 2720 South Colorado Boulevard
*Or earlier, and not reported in a previous Watch List.
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.