Colorado culinary school students, food critics and plain old foodies all have at least one thing in common: they’re always looking for the next great restaurant. Whether they need inspiration for their next dish or just a great meal out, the culinary minded will go to incredible lengths to be the first to discover the next hot spot in their area. Well, that decision may have just gotten a great deal easier for those residing in Denver. An up and coming new restaurant that’s been drawing high praise from a number of news outlets, Work & Class, was recently named to Thrillist’s list of the 21 Best New Restaurants in America.
A simple concept
Often, new restaurants garner critical acclaim from the powers that be by bringing about entirely new concepts in their food preparation. Whether it’s entirely new dishes or modern takes on classic favorites, it seems that many establishments begin their tenure by creating a signature idea. Well, at Work & Class in Denver, the name of the game is simplicity. According to the Denver Business Journal, the restaurant’s entire menu is based in the concept that diners choose a meat dish and a side dish (and a drink, if they should feel so inclined). While this sounds simple enough, the restaurant’s unique options and inspired menu make for seemingly limitless possibilities.
The name of the restaurant is reflected in the menu’s offerings, as it blends a working class mentality with incredible Latin American inspired dishes. While the establishment also offers a kids’ menu and rotating happy hour offerings, the true gems seem to appear on the establishment’s dinner menu, which features such dishes as cornmeal fried catfish and coriander roasted Colorado lamb. Other favorites include Cochinita red Chile braise pork and citrus mustard braised short ribs. When pairing with sides, customers have the options of choosing between everything from fried sweet plantains to creamy cheesy polenta to thick cut french fries. The restaurant, which seats more than 50 patrons at capacity, also has a broad range of cocktails which include full, two ounce pours of liquor.
There is perhaps no greater influence on the style, attitude and success of Work & Class than the history of its three co-owners. All of them come from working or middle class backgrounds and have channeled that into the eatery that Thrillist selected as one of the 21 best new restaurants in the country. Dana Rodriguez, hailing from Chihuahua, Mexico, teamed up with Tony Maciag of Detroit and Delores Tronco, who has her roots on a farm in Nebraska. According to the restaurant’s website, the three of them have based the concept for the restaurant entirely on a motto of “good food, no fuss.” Based on the praise that the new eatery has seen in such a short period of time, that slogan seems to be working out quite well for them so far.