Food lovers, make room for Denver on your culinary circuit. And, if you can, get to this food-loving, craft beer-guzzling, farmer’s market-adoring city this fall. You’ll be generously rewarded with not just good eats, but also some perfect patio weather and food festivals you’ll want to write home about.
Here’s 5 reasons you should treat your tastebuds to a trip to Denver.
Get a ‘taste’ of Colorado: Denver bids farewell to summer with a huge food (and music) festival in downtown. The Taste of Colorado from Sept. 2 - Sept. 5 in Civic Center Park draws dozens of restaurants that show off their standout menu items sold as “tastes” (read: small bites). Yes, you’re thinking what we’re thinking. You can get fried alligator from Bayou Bob’s Seafood & Southern Cookin’, some roasted corn and black bean tacos from Chuey Fu’s Latin Asian Grub, and then a coffee-rubbed, bacon-wrapped chicken skewer courtesy of Pazzo’s.
And that’s just warming up. Plus, the weekend is packed with free concerts that will spark some nostalgia. The musical line-up includes Blues Traveler, Boyz II Men, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
Raise a pint to Denver: First the bad news, the Great American Beer Festival (or GABF) sold out in just over an hour. It’s a popular festival, surely. The lucky few (OK, more like lucky 60,000) get the chance to sample 3,800-some beers from more than 800 breweries. Plus, there’s artisan cheese samples. But, here’s the thing: Denver is a brewery-dense city and you can get on a brew tour of your own or make some visits to the city’s best, like Denver Beer CO, Great Divide Brewing Company, and Lost Highway Brewing -- all of which will have booths at the beer festival.
When you come to Denver during beer fest, you’ll be in good company with beer-loving, pretzel-necklace wearing tourists. Plus, the city is all about its beer during the festival. Nearby the Convention Center, The Nickel Diner inside Hotel Teatro will offer up late-night eats each night post-GABF. Treat your beer belly to tater tots, charcuterie, house-made pretzels, buttermilk pancakes, chicken and waffles with a Tabasco honey, and a chicken-friend steak sandwich made with bourbon honey mustard and pepper jam.
Come for Oktoberfest: If you did miss out on Great American Beer Festival tickets, fret not because -- oompah! -- you can make it for Oktoberfest. See how Denver does the German tradition, complete with sausage and sauerkraut as well as steins of beer. Oktoberfest is celebrated two weekends in September and October and is held in the historic district of Denver at 20th and Larimer Streets. The 2016 dates are Sept. 23 - 25 and Sept. 30 - Oct. 2.
Food truck lunches: Why wait for festivals to enjoy the food truck culture. Here in Denver, locals get lunch during the workweek at Civic Center Park, which is in the heart of the city and across from the Capitol building. Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, food trucks fill the park during the lunch hours, which is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.for Civic Center Eats. You can view the full line-up here. But, there’s everything from wings to crepes to a food truck called R U Cereal that serves up breakfast-inspired desserts, like a glazed donut ice cream sandwich.
Bottomless margarita brunches: This epic brunch isn’t limited to just fall, but we especially enjoy it during the autumn. The patio at Tamayo boasts awesome views but is also covered, which can be good for the unpredictable weather. Will it be balmy and 80 in October, or snow? Who knows - but let’s not take our meals indoors just yet. Here’s the low-down on this brunch: $39 gets you unlimited Mexican small plates, like tacos and tortas and then spins on traditional breakfasts, like Pan Dulce, the restaurant's interpretation of French Toast, made with strawberries, bananas, nutella, chipotle-cajeta sauce, and crema fresca.
Oh, let us not forget: You’ll also get unlimited breakfast cocktails and the restaurant is famous for its margs.