Food News

Meat Market: Changes at Three Old Steakhouses, Two New Ones Coming

As in the days of the Denver oil boom, steakhouses are a big part of Denver's current restaurant renaissance. While old meat palaces are being revived under new leadership, others are stampeding into town from respected restaurant groups. Here are five eateries specializing in the art of grilled beef, from Denver classics to posh newcomers, that are all making news.

Luke's, A Steak Place
4990 Kipling Street, Wheat Ridge
303-422-3300

Luke's has been quietly serving steaks and other grilled meats to a loyal following for more than twenty years. Mike Lucas was the original owner and in 2012, Bob Meyer took over. When longtime customers Coe Kunz and his wife, Megan, saw that the restaurant was up for sale earlier this year, they decided to buy the place and revitalize it for Wheat Ridge and Arvada diners. "Our family has been going here since Mike opened," Kunz explains. "And my wife and I had our first date here."

Kunz hired a chef from the Caribbean to add more seafood options and to revamp the steak menu, which now offers more affordable choices than the previous incarnation of Luke's while placing a renewed emphasis on quality. The new owners took over on November 4 and have since added a happy hour as well as special events and entertainment to make Luke's "a cornerstone for the area."

Mickey's Top Sirloin
6950 Broadway
303-426-5881
Mickey's was originally opened more than fifty years ago by Mickey Broncucia on land that his grandfather had farmed since the early part of the twentieth century. Broncucia finally retired and sold the business to new ownership this fall; he just turned eighty and celebrated his birthday on December 12 (he shares a birthday with fellow Italian Frank Sinatra) at the steakhouse that also serves Mexican and Italian food. Those venturing north on Broadway to enjoy the vintage charm of Mickey's might notice the restaurant doesn't look its age; Broncucia put up a new building on the lot in 2005, but much of the eatery's original roadhouse charm remains.

Morton's the Steakhouse
1710 Wynkoop Street
303-825-3353
Morton's, part of the Landry's restaurant chain since 2011, has had its ups and downs in popularity since moving to LoDo in 1995 (before that, it began its Denver life in the Tivoli building). And Morton's will soon be on the move again, heading for 1745 Wazee Street, where Sullivan's Steakhouse closed in 2015. Morton's will close its restaurant across the street from Union Station on January 21 and reopen in the new space in early February.

STK
16th and Market streets

Denver must be attracting international attention; STK is part of the ONE Group, which operates several different bar and restaurant concepts around the world, including branches of its signature steakhouse in Milan, New York City, Miami and Las Vegas (to name just a few). Despite its worldly influences, the new Denver STK, scheduled to open in January, will be helmed by Denver chef Will Tuggle, whose résumé includes Stout Street Social, Humboldt and Black Eye Coffee/White Lies. The chef's opening menu will be about 30 percent original to the Denver location, with the remainder coming from STK's repertoire.

Quality Italian
245 Columbine Street
The Halcyon Hotel opened this past summer with one restaurant: The second location of Departure created by Portland, Oregon, chef Gregory Gourdet. But a new eatery will soon be added to the posh Cherry Creek inn. Quality Italian, from New York City restaurateur Michael Stillman, captures the spirit of classic Italian steakhouses in a modern venue. Look for it to open in late January or early February.

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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