Cafe Society

The ten best restaurants in the Ballpark neighborhood

Two decades ago, before Coors Field opened, the area just past LoDo was known as "NoDough." But even then, the area had a lot of promise. And over the last year, that promise has finally been realized, with all those turn-of-the-last-century warehouses now filled to bursting with residences and offices, and the Victorian storefronts housing excellent restaurants and innovative businesses. And over the past few months, as construction explodes in LoDo to the southwest and RiNo to the north, the Ballpark neighborhood has seen new buildings open, too, buildings that house cutting-edge enterprises and eateries -- including Denver's Best New Restaurant. As Denver's Best New Restaurant Neighborhood, Ballpark hits it out of the park. Here are ten reasons why:

See also: The twelve best brunch spots in Denver

10) Amerigo Delicatus Restaurant & Market 2449 Larimer Street

Iain Chisholm, chef/owner of Amerigo, which opened in the summer of 2012 in the Ballpark neighborhood, is the epitome of an entrepreneur. His first food venture was a lemonade stand when he was in elementary school; he went on to earn two degrees from Johnson & Wales and work for local restaurateur Jenna Johansen. Then he got a gig in the construction industry for three years, learning skills that would help him save lots of money when he finally opened his own place, Amerigo. Although he scrimped on the buildout and still focuses on manageable food costs, he's dedicated to serving new-world Italian cuisine at affordable prices. The highlights are his housemade pasta dishes; the roster is always changing, but the high quality is a constant. Other reliable deals: the sandwiches at lunch, the Monday-night dinner special of roasted suckling pig or linguini, and the Tuesday Cheap Date Night with a $50 dinner for two, wine included.

9) Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs 2148 Larimer Street

Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs has been hawking fat sausages from a handful of carts for years now, but in 2011, Jim Pittenger also opened a brick-and-mortar establishment that quickly became a mainstay for those looking for a cheap dinner before a night on the town -- or a cheap dinner at the end of a long night, since this spot stays open after last call on weekends. Most of the dogs -- including such exotic sausages as boar, elk and veal -- run just $6 or $7 and come piled high with caramelized onions and decorated with a ribbon of cream cheese.

8) Buenos Aires Pizzeria 1319 22nd Street

The menu at this understated Argentinean pizza joint lists forty types of pizza, each as unique as a snowflake, and not one bearing a single slice of pepperoni. Hearts of palm? Absolutely. Corn? You bet. The salty Crudo features prosciutto and sun-dried tomatoes; sliced oranges, pineapple and shredded coconut top the Tropical. And shredded hard-boiled egg adorns about half of the offerings: Apparently the Argentine people were the first to discover that hard-boiled egg (both whites and yolks) lend a weird, wonderful, almost nutty flavor to a slice.

7) Marco's Coal-Fired Pizzeria 2129 Larimer Street Owners Mark and Kristy Dym wanted their place to have a sense of fantasy-Italian bonhomie, where two visits make you a regular and three a member of the family. And they succeeded. Their friendly pizzeria has a contemporary feel even though the building is more than a century old, and the service is uniformly great. But what matters most is the pizza, made in huge ovens brought over from Italy. This is about as close to a true Neapolitan pie as you're going to find anywhere outside of Naples, and Marco's has the VPN certification to prove it. Bonus points for the chicken wings fired up in that same oven. Keep reading for more of the best restaurants in the Ballpark neighborhood.
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.

Latest Stories