Westword's Ten Most-Read Denver Food Stories From 2015

In 2015, we brought you plenty of news of restaurant openings and closings, plus stories about all of the best food in Denver — from brunch and barbecue to burgers and green chile. Here are the ten stories you loved the most, based on readership — with the most popular story in the number-one slot.

10. The Ten Best Street-Taco Spots in Denver — 2015 Edition
"The phrase “street tacos” doesn’t leave much wiggle room for interpretation: It signifies tacos served on the street from carts, trucks, kiosks, market stalls or trailers. But even inside Denver’s top taquerias, which put a wall or a window between you and the frost-fractured sidewalks and the roar of traffic, you can still find unadorned street food. As with street vendors, ambience at these sit-down spots takes a back seat to the rhythm of spatulas clanging on the flat top, the table-shaking oompah of Mexican music and the cacophony of telenovelas cranked up to high decibels. Most important, though, are the tacos themselves — simple masterpieces of meat and masa, perhaps dressed in a gaudy bangle of emerald and pearl cilantro and onion. Served flat or folded, with pork or beef strewn recklessly or packed like muzzle-loader wadding, they'e devoured in two bites — with elbow held high and head tilted — before we move on to the next. And the next."

Continue reading for the ten best street-taco spots in Denver in 2015...

9. Tom's Home Cookin' Closes in Five Points
"Last month, Tom Unterwagner and Steve Jankousky, owners of Tom's Home Cookin' in Five Points, put their restaurant up for sale. Fans of the Southern-style kitchen who lined up every weekday for lunch hoped that Tom's would continue to serve the meatloaf, mac and cheese, chicken and dumplings, and other country fare that has made the place such a hit since it opened more than fifteen years ago. And the partners even hinted that they were just testing the waters to see what the property was worth." 

Continue reading for more about the loss of Tom's Home Cookin'...
8. Dungeons & Drafts Is Building a Real-Life Fantasy Tavern in Fort Collins
"The first thing that patrons will see when they walk into Dungeons & Drafts are the stained-glass windows, says Manny Garza. A tableau of wizards and warriors will quest across the panels, designed by a local artist. From high up on the wall, a mounted dragon’s head will stare down at tables of drinkers huddled around cups of mead and piles of books. Behind the bar, swords and shields will glint in the chandeliers’ flickering light." 

Keep reading for the rest of the story...
7. The Ten Most Promising New Restaurants in Denver for the First Half of 2015
"Big is in when it comes to new restaurants. If 2014 was the year of the tiny restaurant — with the likes of To the Wind Bistro, Bistro Barbès, Cart-Driver and Work & Class wedging customers into every nook and cranny — then 2015 is the year to go big or go home. Massive dining rooms, grandiose concepts and millions of dollars in architecture, decor and high-tech equipment mark a dramatic shift in the economics of restaurant openings this year. Several new eateries with high expectations feature seating capacity for hundreds, multiple bars and rooftop decks, plus extra space for live music and entertainment." 

Keep reading for the full list...

6. The Ten Best BBQ Joints in Denver — 2015 edition
"Barbecue joints have been springing up around town nearly as often as apartment owners have raised their rents. With so many new choices and so many good pit masters moving to Colorado from the South's prime barbecue regions, it's no surprise that our barbecue choices have never been better. While Denver may not have a distinctive style for newcomers to use as a measuring stick, following tradition will only get a 'cue shop so far. Sometimes being the best means having the best Kansas City-style ribs in town, but sometimes it just means offering the full flavor of good meat cooked over wood, regardless of the origin of the dry rub, sauce or technique." 

Continue reading for the complete list...

Keep reading for the top five most popular food stories...
5. The Ten Best Burgers in Denver — 2015 Edition
"Whether you like them old-fashioned or newfangled, simple or over-the-top, there's a burger for you. Every year, something new and delicious shows up to knock off upstarts and old-timers alike. Choices aren't easy; almost every white-tablecloth eatery and greasy spoon in town turns out a burger, whether smashed, char-grilled, pan-fried or otherwise. We've narrowed it down to the ten best in Denver; here they are in alphabetical order, with the top slot reserved for our Best Burger as awarded in our Best of Denver 2015 edition." 

Continue reading for our list of the best burgers in town...

4. Le Central Bids Adieu
"An affordable French restaurant? Mais oui. Le Central charmed Denver from the moment that Robert Tournier opened his restaurant at Eighth and Lincoln — and for the next 34 years, Le Central stayed true to its goal of serving good, inexpensive French fare in surroundings as accessible as its price point. But now the 65-year-old Tournier has decided to close Le Central." 

Keep reading for more about the loss of Le Central..
3. Colorado Brewery Will Debut CBD-Infused Sativa IPA at Great American Beer Festival
"Sativa IPA won't get you high, but it will almost certainly cause a healthy buzz at the Great American Beer Festival next month. The beer, made by Dad & Dudes Breweria in Aurora, is infused with cannabidiol oil, a non-psychoactive hemp extract. Although there are several hemp beers made in the United States, this may the first beer made with CBD." 

Continue reading for more about this beer...

2. The Ten Best Green Chiles in Denver — 2015 Edition
"Most longtime Denverites don't just have opinions about green chile; they have manifestos. The sauce — or soup, or stew, depending on whom you talk to and where you order it — comes in bowls, ramekins and styrofoam tubs and gets sloshed over everything from fries to tamales. A burrito in Denver wouldn't be a burrito without a generous dose of verde inside the tortilla, if you're eating on the go, or smothering the whole thing on an oval platter, if you're sitting down for the long haul. And if you want to start a heated discussion — or maybe a land war — just ask residents where they like to get their green. We ate our way through thick and thin, hot and mild, green and...well, not so green, to arrive at our list of the ten best green chiles that Denver has to offer." 

Keep reading for our list of the best green chile in town...

1. The Ten Best Brunch Spots in Denver — 2015 Edition
"Denver is a brunch-crazed city, so choosing just one spot to be crowned the best brunch destination is no easy feat. We look at every restaurant that offers more than the standard eggs, bacon and omelets to truly elevate and innovate their brunch menus. Taking into consideration creative preparations, wait times, drink options and bottomless deals, we've made a quest of locating the most amazing mid-morning meals. Without further ado, here are the ten best brunches in Denver for 2015, all of which go far above basic Benedicts and boring breakfast burritos." 

Continue reading for our list of the best brunch spots in the city...
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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