Fall is for families.
If you're headed to Colorado for fall vacation and you have Thanksgiving dinner on your mind — but you don't want to cook — grab a table and feast. Here are some of our favorite restaurants that know how to serve up food shared, family style.
01 of 06
Acorn, in the RiNo district of Denver, is one of the state's most unique places to dine. First, it's located inside a historic building from the 1800s, with graffiti-covered walls and an industrial-style decor. Acorn is located in The Source, a hip marketplace that's especially popular among locals in the know.
For families, shared plates are a highlight here. The selection of shared plates is impressive. Try the meatballs and fried pickles for starters, followed by the oak-smoked pork belly and wagyu beef tartare.
The excellent cocktails add to the experience. In fact, if sharing is your game of the night, the Compatriot mixed drink serves two. It blends Beefeater, Absolut Elyx, Bénédictine, Luxardo Sangue Morlacco, Tepache, ginger beer and Angostura bitters with a dash of lime. Acorn is known for its quality drink program, which, depending on your family, may enhance family dining.
One great feature for larger parties is you can book a private party at Acorn. The... "bird's nest" in the restaurant is ideal for small gatherings, like a rehearsal dinner or bridal shower.
02 of 06
The Nickel, inside Denver’s iconic Hotel Teatro, has a unique menu, where main courses ("meats") and sides ("complements") are all ordered a la carte. Not only does this means you can piece together your own perfect meal based on your unique tastes, but it also makes the plates ideal for sharing. We love it because you don't have to decide on one thing. Mix, match and try everyone's food.
Don't miss the starters and sweets.
The food at the Nickel is a fancy spin on your favorite comfort food. Around Thanksgiving in the past, swap your regular sweet potato for a sweet potato with poblano chile and hazelnut. Skip turkey and instead enjoy quail with stuffing and cranberry. In lieu of pumpkin pie: pumpkin crepe cake.
The Nickel's seasonal menu features the creations of the new chef de cuisine, Sean Stengel, in collaboration with executive sous chefs Russell Stippich and Chip Travelute.
Nickel also has a kids' menu and special kids' sides, to keep the... little ones happy.
Many recipes are inspired by the chefs' family recipes, but with surprising twists.
After your meal, swing by The Study, the gorgeous lobby in the Hotel Teatro, with a crackling fireplace, and try the new Fireside Cocktail Flight.
If your family is more of the brunching type, the Nickel's brunch is legit, with a charcuterie bloody Mary bar and a substantial wine list. Oh yeah, and a bunch of yummy food.
03 of 06
Sarto’s Social Italian Eatery
Sarto's Social Italian Eatery, in the Jefferson Park neighborhood of Denver, allows you to piece together your meal how you like it. Pick a "texture" (salad or soup), pasta, "grill" (like tuna or trout) or other protein and "accessory" (that's Sarto's for sides, like broccolini or fire-roasted sweet lightning squash).
A collection of small plates makes for an exciting, shared dinner.
Then, pick several plates of "small sweets" for dessert to share. As the name indicates, this restaurant centers around social dining, making it perfect for a family outing.
For earlier dining, check out Sarto's Pantry, which has sandwiches, soups and salads. Order a plate if you want to share. You can get a meat and cheese platter that makes for great group munching.
04 of 06
Work & Class
Work & Class, in Denver, is a relaxed, unpretentious restaurant with plates of varying sizes, so you can pass them around and share. It serves up Southern and Latin American cuisine and great cocktails.
The menu is simple and delicious and the atmosphere is fun, friendly and down to earth, perfect for a family dinner. The best way to share, family-style, here is to order a variety of large appetizers. These big plates are meant to share and pass. Pick from the likes of chickpea croquettes, fried sweet plantains or cheddar smashed potatoes. Definitely order a basket of jalapeno cornbread to share, too.
For the main course, you can order everything in varying sizes, up to by the pound (like a pound of coriander-roasted Colorado lamb). Get a few full birds (rotisserie chickens), either buffalo style or flavored with lemon brown butter. Because you can order such big sizes, you can share your meal generously.
Work & Class also has a special kids' menu.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
Till Kitchen, in Colorado Springs, is great for groups and kids. This farm-style open kitchen south of Denver is all about local, responsibly sourced ingredients.
The atmosphere and menu provide a homey feeling. Share sushi rolls or appetizers or sit down with your family and a few good pizzas.
Looking for a family gathering place for breakfast? The Roost at Till, located in the mercantile side of the restaurant, serves high-quality breakfast and lunch, made with produce brought in daily by local farmers. So not only are you dining with your own family, but you're sharing with the whole community.
06 of 06
Finn's Manor, in the RiNo district of Denver, is the perfect solution when you have a group of people who can't agree on what to eat. It's a cocktail bar (with 16 rotating taps and more than 360 spirits) that is surrounded by a wide selection of food trucks. They call it a food truck "pod."
Everyone can pick their favorite food truck — from BBQ to Jamaican — and bring their food back to eat together in the patio. Wash it down with a cocktail — or ice cream. An ice cream truck is a staple here. So everyone leaves happy.