Eating Adventures

The Austin Invasion: Six Texas Restaurants That Have Landed in Denver

Combo plates are a big part of Tex-Mex dining.
Combo plates are a big part of Tex-Mex dining. Chuy's
Denver and Austin, Texas, share many things: a laid-back attitude, an independent streak and a fondness for great food and drink, for starters. They're both the capital cities of their respective states, and are islands of liberal politics in a sea of more conservative views. And lately there seems to be some sort of free-trade agreement between the two cities, at least when it comes to restaurants and booze. Colorado entrepreneurs have made forays into the Lone Star State, planting Oskar Blues Brewery, Infinite Monkey Theorem Urban Winery, Punch Bowl Social and Snooze A.M. Eatery in Austin — but the trade route goes both ways. Here are six Austin originals that are now calling Denver home.

Alamo Drafthouse
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
4255 West Colfax Avenue, 720-577-4720
7301 South Santa Fe Drive, Littleton, 720-588-4107

Alamo Drafthouse got its start in 1997 on Colorado Street in downtown Austin. That address turned out to be a foreshadowing of things to come, as the three-in-one bar/restaurant/movie house eventually came to Littleton in 2013 and then followed up with an urban location in the Sloan's Lake neighborhood last year. The company is also working on building in Westminster.

click to enlarge Combo plates are a big part of Tex-Mex dining. - CHUY'S
Combo plates are a big part of Tex-Mex dining.
6595 West 104th Avenue, Westminster 303-469-9441
499 South Vance Street, Lakewood, 720-460-9840
8121 East Arapahoe Road, Greenwood Village, 720-699-7500
Elvis and enchiladas have proven an appealing combination to diners even outside the city that made being weird its calling card. Chuy's has been expanding across the country over the past three decades, and homesick Texans in Denver finally got what they were yearning for when the chain brought its Tex-Mex style to Westminster in 2017, followed quickly by a Belmar outpost and then Greenwood Village. If you're not from Austin, you'll probably still get a kick out of the queso and the Lay's-potato-chip-crusted fried chicken.

click to enlarge MARK ANTONATION
Mark Antonation
Hopdoddy Burger Bar
1747 Wynkoop Street
Austin beef baron Hopdoddy moved alongside Union Station in 2014, serving meaty burgers on housemade buns, along with boozy milkshakes and other non-beef sandwiches, from salmon burgers to lamb burgers. In only eight years, Hopdoddy has gone from a single Austin burger bar to more than 25 locations in six states. A second Denver shop is expected to open at the Ninth and Colorado development next year.

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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