Sirvo Says: Elevated Dining in Denver & Boulder

Sirvo Says: Elevated Dining in Denver & Boulder

If you’re looking to go big for your next meal, then Denver and Boulder definitely have options that fit the bill. With the elevated dining scene booming in Colorado, this list could very easily be larger. For now, here are 10 fine dining restaurants that will without a doubt satisfy your appetite.

1. Frasca

Named after social gathering places in northeast Italy, Frasca is one of Colorado’s finest dining establishments. Restaurateur Bobby Stuckey and Chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson have created their own sort of gathering spot on the famed Pearl Street in Boulder. Sit back, relax and enjoy a quite memorable experience. Not too much else can compare with an elevated Italian cuisine, a broad and notable wine list and a level of service you have seldom seen anywhere else.

2. ChoLon

No stranger to praise, Chef Lon Symensma has been creating some of the most innovative dishes this city has ever seen. His plates are full of color, texture and most importantly, flavor. ChoLon’s Southeast Asia inspired menu helps elevate a dining scene that is often dominated by roasted meats and macaroni and cheese. Our suggestion – order the Grilled Octopus with Chinese sausage, young potatoes and pickled grapes. If you’re hoping to make an impression on someone and are unsure of where to go in town, make a reservation at ChoLon and let them take care of the rest. 

3. Elway’s

When you put an iconic name on the front of your restaurant there is a lot of pressure to not just be good, but to be great. Elway’s is just that. Despite the emerging competition, this fine establishment continues to offer next level service with memorable cuisine. Elway’s is your classic Denver steakhouse and is the right place to go when you want a hearty meal that justifies the price and satisfies your appetite.

4. OAK at Fourteenth

Another exceptional restaurant from owners Steven Redzikowski and Bryan Danton and yet another Boulder establishment listed in the top five of this list. A New American seasonal menu featuring locally sourced ingredients and a high (high) level of hospitality. OAK is constantly making measured adjustments to stay relevant and ahead of the game. The name represents the oak oven and grill used to prepare some of the best dishes in the state. It doesn’t have to be a special occasion to dine here, but it sure will feel like it’s one.

5. Shanahan’s Steak House

Okay, let us be clear here for all of our out of state transplants. Yes, Denver has two steakhouses named after a couple of local football heroes. Welcome to Bronco Country. Shannahan’s is very symbolic of local culture serving large servings of red meat within an elegant setting. What differentiates this steakhouse from the other ones in town? Probably it’s 6,000 bottle wine cellar. Take your family, take an important client or simply go and enjoy a great dinner with friends.

6. Flagstaff House

This former cabin retreat nestled into the side of a mountain is the perfect Colorado upscale restaurant. The views are breathtaking and the dining experience is one of kind. With over 15,000 bottles of wine to choose from and a phenomenal menu selection including our choice the Hudson Valley Foie Gras, pan seared and served with crispy braised Sweetbreads. Flagstaff House is truly a place to celebrate a special occasion with loved ones and you will enjoy every minute of it. 

7. Panzano

Located in the Hotel Monaco, this Northern Italian influenced restaurant has been one of the best places to eat in Denver for the last 17 years. Despite the departure of Chef Elise Wiggins, her influence and legacy carry on at Panzano. We advise ordering the Doppio Ravioli di Vetri, braised lamb, polenta rustica, calabrian chile and pecorino cheese. Panzano doesn’t just have great food, there is an elevated level of hospitality one feels right when they walk in the door. The perfect night is taking a loved one out on the town, reserving a room at the Hotel Monaco and eating at one of the best places in the city. Very memorable.

8. Del Frisco’s

For years Denver diners have been making it a point to eat at Del Frisco’s. Known as one of the best steakhouses in the country it was impossible to not place them on this list. This beautiful establishment is the definition of upscale dining in this great city. Despite the appearance of only catering to a more affluent customer base, Del Frisco’s treats all of its guests to a wonderful meal and experience. Don’t wait for that next special occasion, call today to reserve a table and enjoy.

9. The Nickle

The Hotel Teatro is one of the most charming places to stay in the city and located on the main floor is their equally charming dining establishment, The Nickel. Located in Denver’s historic Tramway Building, The name of the restaurant pays homage to the price of riding the train. Once again this is a great place to get a room and enjoy a great meal. The Nickel has an excellent food and beverage program as well as talented staff that delivers top notch service.

10. Edge

You may be thinking, “Another steakhouse?”. While Edge may offer a fine selection of steak options, it is much much more than your average steakhouse. First off, it is an extremely beautiful space located within one of the best hotels in the city, The Four Seasons. Edge has a wide selection of from the grill options, seafood plates and an array of delicious side dishes. The minute you enter the restaurant, you instantly feel like you are somewhere nice. That’s the whole point of dining at places like edge, right?

There is nothing better than treating getting dressed up and treating ourselves to a nice night on the town, hence this list. Sirvo loves and supports the local Denver dining scene! We have such an amazing food culture that just keeps getting better year after year. 2016 has seen the arrival of many great restaurants and we imagine 2017 will bring some more. If you or someone you know are looking to work within this thriving industry, head to our job board to search for that next great opportunity!

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How to Choose a Memorable Name For Your Restaurant

How to Choose a Memorable Name For Your Restaurant

You’ve readied your space, hired your staff and now the only thing standing between you and opening night is thinking of a great restaurant name. It’s almost like naming your baby… with a few big differences. Name your kid Apple, and you get a few eye-rolls from the adults in the playground. Name your restaurant Rat’s Nest Kitchen, and you just lost whatever money you invested. So how do you go about choosing the right name for your restaurant?

Good characteristics for names

A good name for a business has a couple of traits. Remember that it is all about branding and you want to choose a name that will be easy for your guests to remember. No one wants to be known as “That one place with the sandwiches”. Make it is easy to spell too, so that people can write about you. Keep it simple and choose a name that can possibly be utilized effectively as you potentially grow someday.

The most important part of a good name is that it targets the audience you want to draw. You’ll need to research your potential clientele to find out what will make a good impression on them before thinking up names.

Your restaurant, like your baby, needs a good name.

Location is a great starting place

People who love your town will appreciate a place named after it or some piece of their history. Visitors will like the historic appeal and may even come to conclusions about the historical importance of your establishment, even if there isn’t much past the use of the name. In other words, choose a timeless name.

You can take the location inspiration in many directions. For example, The French Laundry got its name from the French Steam laundry that was housed in the same building in the 19th century. Go ahead and dig deep in local color. It’ll do your name good.

Keep the theme in mind

Have you ever seen a Chinese Restaurant named Joe’s? No, and you won’t because a restaurant serving ethnic food wants potential customers to know what they are in for. Your restaurant’s name should reflect the theme of your business. The name is the first impression people get, and you want it to be accurate.

Keep it simple and choose a name that can possibly be utilized effectively as you potentially grow someday.

… And the cuisine

While naming your pizzeria Pepperoni Pizza With A Soda may be a bit restrictive, calling it Just Pizzas is pretty effective. It may even help in marketing your brand, as it tells the customer exactly what to expect from the menu. A vegetarian will know to avoid something with ‘steakhouse’ in the name, and people in the mood for tacos will gravitate toward a restaurant named ‘taqueria.’

Use personal inspiration

A common naming trope is to use the name of the person who inspired the owner. For instance, Wendy’s was named after the owner’s daughter. Naming your restaurant after a loved one makes for a great advertising hook, and people will eat up the story along with the food.

You can also name it after a time or place that holds personal meaning or your favorite play on words. Everybody loves a joke, and puns work on many levels. It conveys a relaxed attitude, and it puts people In a sunny mood. It also gives you a chance to get creative.

What to avoid

For both legal and branding reasons, you will want to avoid trademarked names. You’ll confuse customers and get yourself sued.

As a general rule, run potential names past other people and look to their reactions.

As a general rule, you should run potential names past other people and see their reactions. They will think of associations that you might have missed. Plenty of people have come up with what they thought were lovely names, only to have everybody assume they were insulting someone or referencing something off-color. Getting input from peers or local industry leaders keeps you from getting embarrassed later.

Your restaurant, like your baby, needs a good name. Your restaurant needs a name it can stick with for life. Take the time to research the market, brainstorm ideas, and test it on people. Getting the right name will be worth every minute. 

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Sirvo Says: 5 Denver Restaurant “Hidden Gems”

Sirvo Says: 5 Denver Restaurant “Hidden Gems”

Whether you’ve just arrived in Denver or have been here for some time, there are a few spots in town that only a few of us know about. Most of these places have been around the Denver scene for some time and if they haven’t, they sure feel like they have. We have compiled a short list of establishments that would be great for entertaining friends from out of town, taking your S.O. to or checking out alone on those days you are feeling adventurous. We present for you, Sirvo Says: 5 Hidden Denver Restaurant “Hidden Gems”.  

1. Potager

Potager is the creation of Chef Teri Rippeto and her father Tom. This lovely establishment has been one of the best restaurants in Denver since 1997. Long before the farm to table trends that have hit the local (or even national) scene, this garden-inspired menu changes with the seasons and utilizes those fresh seasonal ingredients in an awe inspiring and delectable way. Part of their vision states, “It is crucially important that we do something we feel good about, everyday”. This bodes true for rest of us when trying to find that perfect place to dine. Potager is located in the Cap Hill neighborhood at 1109 Ogden, Denver CO 80218.

2. Devil’s Food

Devil’s Food, what a name! There is nothing evil about this lovely Wash Park establishment, it is more heavenly and charming than anything else. While the neighborhood may be a bit “upscale”, the interior of Devil’s Food is everything but. They first opened their doors in 1999 and it is definitely the type of restaurant one seeks out when they are looking for a place that has a little character. They recently just added onto their location at 1020 South Gaylord, Denver CO 80209, where they will be one part bakery and one part restaurant. Keep in mind, there may be a line if you choose to go there for brunch. So worth it…

3. Ernie’s Bar & Pizza

Established in 1948, Ernie’s Bar & Pizza is a throwback with a contemporary twist. This pizza establishment features fresh made dough and mozzarella that add a unique flavor to their delicious pizza. Selected by the Westword in 2015 as Denver’s Best NY Style Pizza, Ernie’s does not disappoint. Not only do they have 30 beers on tap, but they also infuse their own whiskey. Located in the Sunnyside neighborhood at 2915 W 44th Ave. Denver, CO 80211, Ernie’s is worth the visit for pizza lovers and is a great place to entertain friends or family. 

4. Solitaire

Say it’s your anniversary and you are trying to find the perfect place to go that has great food and a romantic atmosphere, Solitaire is the place you are looking for. Nestled in the Highlands neighborhood at 927 W 32nd Ave, Denver, CO 80212, this wonderful restaurant has only graced our presence since 2015. The service is hospitable and the Charred Spanish Octopus is almost reason enough to go. Chef/Owner Mark Ferguson overtook the space when a former Denver restaurant hidden gem, Highland’s Garden Cafe, closed its doors after 20 years.

5. Adrift Tiki Bar

Recently purchased by the owners of Little Man Ice Cream (a not so hidden gem), Adrift Tiki Bar residing at 218 S Broadway, Denver, CO 80209, is quite the restaurant for those looking for a unique experience within the Denver dining scene. With an exotic ambiance and a cache of rum based cocktails, Adrift is one of a kind. It’s dark, it’s got an island vibe and the Polynesian/Hawaiian themed menu is to die for. Adrift reminds us of how lucky we are to live in such a wonderful city, with an eclectic and thriving food culture. 

We here at Sirvo are in love with Denver and enjoy exploring all of the different places there are to eat and drink in town. The hospitality scene (especially locally) is growing fast and is a great industry for those seeking a job that supports a work/life balance. Head to our job board to see all of our open listings and then set a date to visit all of these hidden gems!

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11 Colorado Food Blogs You Should Read

11 Colorado Food Blogs You Should Read

From high altitude baking to Southwestern recipes, to Denver’s and Boulder’s burgeoning food scene, there’s plenty of fodder for local food bloggers to cover. Here is DiningOut’s list of 11 Colorado food blogs to read

11 Colorado Food Blogs You Should Follow

Blogger: Ashlae Warner

Homebase: Denver

History: I started Oh, Ladycakes in late-2011, as a way to chronicle my adventures in baking.

Specialty: Vegan baked goods (and other sweet confections) that don’t taste like they’re vegan. Basically, I could trick your meat-loving uncle (who thinks vegan is synonymous with the word gross) into eating one of my desserts. And he’d probably ask for seconds, too.

Favorite CO restaurant: It’s always changing, but I’m currently digging Mercantile Dining & Provisions. The space is stunning and the vegan plate (not officially on the menu) is always outta-this-world delicious.

11 Colorado Food blogs to FollowBlogger: Jennifer Yu

Homebase: I split my time between Nederland and Crested Butte.

History: I started the blog in 2004 to write down my thoughts after the untimely death of my only sister earlier that year. It eventually evolved into a personal blog full of photos and stories about my daily life including lots of food. In 2007, I stripped out the most personal content and went public with my food blog so I could participate in a fun and supportive group of food bloggers called The Daring Bakers (now The Daring Kitchen).

Specialty: My blog is about me—my life in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, my dog, outdoor adventures, places I like to eat, my cancer, some travels, some thoughts, some science, and lots of recipes with step-by-step photographs. There is plenty of photography because I’m a visual person. It’s part diary, part archive, and part a place to share things that I find beautiful, fascinating, or delicious. I don’t specialize in anything other than whatever is on my mind.

Favorite CO restaurant: That’s a tough one, because both Boulder and Crested Butte have great restaurant scenes and I know Denver does, too—although I don’t get to Denver often (I prefer to stay in the mountains).  I would have to go with Frasca in Boulder, because the food and wine are divine, and the service is beyond exceptional.

11 Food Colorado Blogs to FollowBlogger: Lauren Grier

Homebase: Denver (the Highlands)

History: I started Climbing Grier Mountain (CGM) in 2010 as a way to showcase all the wonderful experiences one can have while living in Colorado. The stories from CGM quickly morphed from just lifestyle to more food-focused when I got married, and figured it was time to learn how to cook a proper meal. I was working in the financial industry in 2010, and I lost my job due to the market crash. I figured the best way to pass the time between job interviews was to teach myself how to cook. If I could cook, I imagined that others could do the same.

Specialty: Curiosity.

Favorite CO restaurant: My favorite restaurant right now is Blue Pan Pizza. Their Detroit-style pizza is absolute perfection. Cheesy-topped dough with crispy edges—I’m hungry just thinking about it. I always order either the Parma Italia or Rocky Mountain.

11 Food Blogs to FollowBlogger: Elana Amsterdam

Homebase: Boulder

History: I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 1998. I tried a gluten-free diet and had mixed results so went on a grain-free, or paleo, diet in 2001. I started blogging to share my recipes as well as research on health issues in 2006 with others. Now, I have more than 800 recipes on my website and have written three cookbooks for Random House.

Specialty: My recipes are incredibly simple. I use very few ingredients and test my recipes more than a dozen times to make sure they really work for my readers. I get a lot of feedback thanking me for short ingredient lists and recipes that work.

Favorite CO restaurant: Larkspur in Vail. The food is incredible and they easily handle requests for special diets. Thomas Salamunovich is a genius.

Toni-Dash-BoulderLocavore-Head-Shot-BoulderLocavore.com-76Blogger: Toni Dash

Homebase: Boulder

History: I did a personal experiment to see if I could source my protein and produce exclusively from within a 100-mile radius over a winter in Colorado. I succeeded and in the process discovered all sorts of new farmers, markets, and food artisans. People constantly asked for my resources so I decided to start a blog in September 2010.

Specialty: Exciting, approachable seasonal food and cocktail recipes with twists that are all gluten-free, most also with a gluten option (if not naturally gluten-free). I also share travel stories—often with a food focus.

Favorite CO restaurant: Very difficult to answer, but I’ve been smitten with The Kitchen since it originally opened in Boulder. I love their food quality, innovative recipes, focus on sustainable practices, and involvement with the larger food movement through projects like supporting school gardens. And I found my farm CSA through them!

11 Food Blogs to FollowBlogger: Claire Walters

Homebase: Boulder

History: “Culinary Colorado,” my guidebook to Colorado restaurants, gourmet food stores, artisanal bakeries, cheeseries, cooking schools, wine specialists, food festivals, etc., did really well as soon as it came out of the bindery, but became outdated quickly. It proved too complicated/costly to create an immediate second edition only to face the same challenge again. When the publisher decided not to issue a second edition, I added a “Dining Diary” page to my website. Then when blogging appeared, I launched on October 10, 2006.

Specialty: I write about meals I’ve eaten and food I’ve cooked, trends, and news that intrigues me. My blog is Colorado-centric, but not Colorado exclusive, so I also celebrate Colorado chefs and restaurants that appear on “top” or “best” lists.

Favorite CO restaurant: I have no single favorite. That’s not a cop-out. It’s the truth. My favorite might be where my last delicious meal was–or one serving the food I’m in the mood for. One thing is that I do not go to chains–unless a restaurant is part of the [Frank] Bonanno empire, the Frasca [Food and Wine] family, the [Jen] Jasinski/[Beth] Gruitch collection, or similar.

11 food blogs to followBlogger: Nicole Espinosa

Homebase: Southeast Aurora

History: I’ve always baked with my mom as a child, and my grandma was an amazing baker and cook as well. I started the blog in 2009 when I lived in Boston for college–it was called Small Kitchen Big Head because I had maybe the smallest kitchen in America. I have also always been a writer and went to school for journalism. When I moved back to Colorado, I started to improve my baking skills. I’d be baking just as much whether I blogged about it or not, so blogging is just an excuse for me to keep on baking!

Specialty: Baking and sweets are really my passion. I’m also building up some high-altitude baking resources as I learn more, which I think are too sparsely available online today–it’s hard to find high altitude recipes that actually work! I have a high altitude section on my site that I’m building up.

Favorite CO restaurant: Right now, I’m obsessed with a small breakfast and lunch spot in Aurora called The French Press. They make graham cracker syrup to go with stuffed french toast and other sweets, and it’s incredible! They also have chorizo biscuits and gravy that are EVERYTHING.

11 food blogs to followBlogger: Grace Boyle

Homebase: I live in Longmont and work in Boulder.

History: I had been blogging since 2008 on my personal blog, while also working at my day job in the blogging/publisher industry, so it was part of my day-to-day already. I love uncovering hidden restaurants when traveling, cooking, providing tips on where to eat (I get so many: “Where should I bring my family when they’re in town” questions), and sharing my love of food and how it binds us as people, so it felt very aligned to start another blog on food. A trip to Taos, New Mexico inspired me to finally take the leap in October 2010 so I could share the incredible food I had there.

Specialty: I’m keenly aware of restaurant openings and food stories in Colorado, so as a naturally curious person, I keep readers up-to-date. As an Italian, I care deeply about food and feel strongly that no matter where you’re from or your beliefs, food is one of those few things that connects us. I like to think that insatiable passion comes through in my words as I showcase interesting and delectable stories about food in Colorado and beyond.

Favorite CO restaurant: I love Black Cat. Their menu is driven by their 130-acre farm just outside of Boulder, so the menu changes daily to truly reflect what’s seasonal and fresh. It’s not unusual to see Owner/Chef Eric Skokan at the Boulder Farmers’ Market with his Black Cat farm stand in the morning, then see him later that night in the kitchen at Black Cat, cooking and greeting customers in person.

bryce-600x600Blogger: Bryce Crawford

Homebase: Colorado Springs

History: I was previously a reporter and restaurant critic for the weekly newspaper. After I quit and realized how much there still was to cover in the area, I started my site on September 1, 2015.

Specialty: We’re connected and plugged-in. We’re judging the events you attend and hanging with the people you want to know more about.

Favorite CO restaurant: My favorite restaurant is probably King’s Chef Diner. It’s a great greasy spoon with kicking green chile.

11 food blogs to followBlogger: Sara Lancaster

Homebase: Denver (Denver Tech Center area)

History: I started in 2010 as a portfolio piece for my marketing agency (The Condiment Marketing Co.) and because I really do have a love for sauces and dips and felt food blogging would be a fun, creative outlet.

Specialty: Sauces and dips aren’t unique really, but to blog about only those two things is unusual as far as I know.

Favorite CO restaurant: I’ve got two little kids now, so I don’t make it out to try the restaurants I would like … at least not often. But my recent favorite is Los Chingones in the DTC. I think of their  Garden Guac often.

barbara-creative-culinaryBlogger: Barb Kiebel

Homebase: Denver

History: I learned HTML in 1995 when working in the Internet Division of a large cable company and decided to create my own recipe site to both categorize and easily share recipes with friends. I turned that site into an interactive blog in 2007 and became a full-time food and cocktail blogger in 2012.

Specialty: Though I feature more recipes for food than cocktails, I am most well known as a cocktail blogger since I started featuring cocktails five years ago in my weekly series called “FridayCocktails.”

Favorite CO restaurant: I love Ya Ya’s in the Denver Tech Center. While I have always enjoyed their food and ambience, they are my “Cheers” that that’s what makes them so special; everybody knows my name!

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Best Places in Denver for an Outdoor Happy Hour

Best Places in Denver for an Outdoor Happy Hour

It’s May and that means it’s the official start of patio season! To kick off this glorious time, DiningOut did some research on where to go in Denver for a great outdoor happy hour. Here are a few of their picks!

1487 South Pearl Street, Denver; 303.777.0691

The rooftop here is not to be missed! Made to be utilized year-round, it moves at the touch of a button and can be covered for chilly days or opened for patrons to enjoy the sunshine. Happy hour lasts from 5-6pm Tuesday-Friday and boasts some really great eats, like Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Steamed Duck Buns, and beautiful pieces of sashimi and nigiri. Don’t miss it!

1215 20th Street, Denver; 303.993.8023

We love the history of Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox and never miss a chance to grab a bite there. Monday through Friday, you can enjoy happy hour from 4-6pm and get down on discounted beer, wine, cocktails, and small plates. Did someone say cheese curds and Wagyu beef sliders? Count us in!

523 East 17th Avenue, Denver; 303.830.1001

Two words: gravy fries. We’ll never believe that life gets better than hanging out on the Steuben’s patio and indulging in as many small bites are our bodies can hold. Happy hour lasts from 2-6pm Monday-Friday and offers a great selection of plates and booze for the whole crew.

270 South Broadway, Denver; 720.287.5233

These people take happy hour seriously. Chill on the massive patio from 3-8pm any day you like to enjoy discounted libations and some of the best tacos and burritos that Denver has to offer.

270 South Broadway, Denver; 720.287.5233

We know, we know—there’s a lot of Linger happy hour hype and has been for years. But that’s only because it rules. Great views of the city and discounted bites and drinks is music to our ears, available Monday-Friday, 4-6pm.

1400 Larimer Street, Denver; 720.946.1433

There’s just nothing like dining alfresco with too many margs and tacos after a long day on the job. Tamayo has perfected this experience, with an inventive take on our favorite Mexican dishes and flavorful margaritas you’ll want to order by the pitcher. Stop by between 2-6pm daily.

Check out what the rest of the best outdoor happy hour spots Denver has to offer on DiningOut.com→