Lists

The Eight Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

All sorts of open-air cooking techniques will be on display at Heritage Fire.
All sorts of open-air cooking techniques will be on display at Heritage Fire. Heritage Fire by Cochon555
Vegetarians can stop reading now: This weekend is packed with pork, brimming with beef and loaded with lamb. From gyros to barbecue to burgers to fried chicken, there's no escaping meat this weekend. Here are eight of the best events on the culinary calendar over the next three days, as well as tasty upcoming events.

Nobody leaves the Denver Greek Festival without sampling the flaky baklava. - TREVOR ANDERSEN
Nobody leaves the Denver Greek Festival without sampling the flaky baklava.
Trevor Andersen
Friday, June 15
The Denver Greek Festival got its start as a modest church fundraiser in 1963, selling handcrafts, canned goods and homemade pastries and bread. More than half a century later, it draws over 25,000 revelers to Assumption of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Cathedral at 4610 East Alameda Avenue. Kicking off at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 15, and running through 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 17, this year's fest boasts a sumptuous food spread, from the familiar (gyros, spanikopita) to the less so (loukoumathes, keftedes). Wash it all down with ouzo or a bottle of Greek wine — yes, you can buy a whole bottle, which automatically makes this our fave fest of the summer — then stick around for live music and dancing, cathedral tours and shopping. Admission is just $3; find out more on the Denver Greek Festival website.

Frisco's got a quarter-century of good ’cue on the books, and this year's Colorado BBQ Challenge promises to be another smokin' weekend. The fest kicks off on Friday, June 15, at 11 a.m. and runs through Saturday, June 16, at 6 p.m., with more than seventy competitors vying for supremacy in categories like chicken, pig parts (shoulders and ribs), brisket, sauce, sides and desserts. There will also be the Bacon Burner 6K race, a firefighter cookoff, Breckenridge distillery tours and, of course, the famous pig races. Admission is free, though you'll have to cash in your greenbacks for hogbacks if you want to sample the goods, and the race and distillery tour will cost you some of that bacon you brought home. Find out more at townoffrisco.com and get ready for one of Colorado's most beloved barbecue traditions.

Floundering for a Father's Day gift? Stop by BookBar, 4280 Tennyson Street, to pick up a present for Pops that's really a present for you. On Friday, June 15, from 7 to 9 p.m., Barbecue Hall of Fame member and five-time James Beard Award winner Steven Raichlen will be on hand promoting his 31st tome on cooking over fire, Project Fire. For $28, guests will receive barbecue, beer and a copy of the cookbook, which they can promptly gift to Pops, ensuring they never again suffer an overcooked pork chop at the hand of their progenitor. Find out more and buy tickets at the BookBar website.


Colorado has an embarrassment of riches this weekend — at least when it comes to barbecue. While the aforementioned Colorado BBQ Challenge will bring out the Colorado's cream of the crop, the Denver BBQ Festival boasts pit masters from across the country: Joints from Tennessee, St. Louis, Mississippi and Texas (Colorado's lone representation is GQue Championship Barbecue) will take over Sports Authority Field at Mile High, 1701 Bryant Street, from Friday, June 15, through Sunday, June 17. While admission is free on Saturday and Sunday — you just pay for your pig — there are VIP passes available for a truly baffling range of prices ($75 to $125...we think). Visit denverbbqfest.com to try and decipher the code. True ’cue aficionados will want to plan their weekend carefully so they can hit both sausage fests.

click to enlarge Park Burger will man the grill at Denver Deluxe this weekend. - COURTESY OF PARK BURGER
Park Burger will man the grill at Denver Deluxe this weekend.
Courtesy of Park Burger
Saturday, June 16
There's no light without dark, no good without evil, no fancy food festival (see below) without its egalitarian counterpart. On Saturday, June 16, Park Burger and 10 Barrel Brewing are taking over the block outside the burger joint's RiNo location, 2615 Walnut Street, to put on a food fest for the masses. From 1:30 to 8 p.m., bands, beer and burgers will be happening. Tickets start at $15 for entry and go up to $50 for unlimited booze and one of Park Burger's ground beef creations; get them at Denver Deluxe's website.

If you're curious about the luxury food festival Cochon555 but the prospect of being packed into a hotel ballroom so tightly your drink spills every time someone next to you takes a deep breath makes you itch, you might fare better at Heritage Fire Snowmass, Cochon's outdoor version of the whole-animal competition. Chefs from all over the country will set up camp at Snowmass Base Village, 120 Carriage Way, to cook more than 3,000 pounds of beef, pork, lamb, rabbit, duck, fish and goat over open fires on Saturday, June 16, from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Guests will enjoy the fresh air, smell of woodfire and unlimited food and drink. Both GA and VIP tickets ($150 and $200) are still available at cochon555.com.

click to enlarge Belly up to the bar at the Post for a Plastic Chevy this Father's Day. - MARK ANTONATION
Belly up to the bar at the Post for a Plastic Chevy this Father's Day.
Mark Antonation
Sunday, June 17
Everyone loves fried chicken, but that's not why we're recommending taking your dad to The Post Brewing Co. on Sunday, June 17. And while all four locations of the poultry palace are serving Father's Day specials (smoked brisket and prime rib hash), that's not why we're sending you there, either. No, we base our recommendation on two words: Plastic Chevy. The $3 drink special consists of a shot of Jack Daniel's and a gravy back — how can you resist the opportunity to knock back a shot of bourbon and follow it with a slippery, savory, salty swallow? Cheers!

Does Dad have more lofty ideas about how to spend Father's Day? El Five will be hosting a special brunch, complete with a tapas and pinchos bar, brunch cocktails and myriad sweets. Breathtaking city and mountain views are included in the $55 ticket. Make reservations at elfivedenver.com or call 303-524-9193.

Keep reading for future food and drink events.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Amy Antonation knows that street tacos are infinitely superior to tacos that come covered in squiggles of crema, and she will stab you with her knitting needles if you try to convince her otherwise.
Contact: Amy Antonation