Denver’s RiNo No. 18 in Best Food Neighborhoods List

Take a break from cooking classes in Boulder and head to Denver to visit some of these awesome spots in River North.

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January 1, 2015 3 min read

Visit Denver's River North neighborhood to see why it earned a spot on Thrillist's Best Food Neighborhoods.Denver’s River North (RiNo) neighborhood has made it to the 18th spot in Thrillist’s Best Food Neighborhoods list. With a massive artisanal market, plenty of great restaurants, breweries and coffee roasteries, it’s no wonder this popular neighborhood made the list. Take a break from cooking classes in Boulder and head to Denver to visit some of these awesome spots:

The Source
Located at 3350 Brighton Boulevard, this 20,000 square foot market is in an old brick foundry building. Inside you will find 15 vendors making and selling coffee, cheese, spices, floral arrangements, seasonal produce, alcohol and more. Head to Boxcar Coffee Roasters for a seriously good cup of joe and then visit Babettes Artisan Breads for some traditional French baked treats. If you like sour beer stop by the Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project, for a sit down cocktail head to the RiNo Yacht Club and enjoy an appetizer and a beverage. You’ll find delicious local artisanal fare around every corner at this Denver market.

Work & Class
According to the owners, this restaurant is all about a “square meal, stiff drink, and fair price.” The food here consists of American and Latin American meals, from the Massive Attack Salad, made with avocado, asparagus, tempura broccoli, cucumbers and Pecorino with a preserved lemon vinaigrette to New Jersey Ernie’s Meatballs, pork and veal meatballs on polenta with Pecorino and spicy tomato sauce. The three owner’s varying backgrounds, Nebraska, Italy and Chihuahua Mexico, really show in the varying menu. Try the cornmeal fried catfish or shrimp and grits for a classic take on southern cooking. Enjoy Loca’s carrot cake, Mexican banana cake and Jamaican jerk chicken for a glimpse of more tropical flavors. They also have a plethora of draft and packaged beers, wines, and cocktails. The owners refer to happy hour here as their Early Work Release Program. They clearly appreciate blue collar work ethic and reasonably priced fare. Visit on Small Batch Tequila Tuesday or Brown Spirit Wednesday for special themed drinks.

You’ll find this restaurant at 2500 Larimer Street in Denver. The entire establishment is in a 640-square-foot shipping container but don’t be fooled by the small size, Cart-Driver offers big flavors. The owners were inspired by the cart drivers, or carrettieras, of Southern Italy who carried goods from farms to the villages and fed people along the way. The ingredients are domestically sourced and served by friendly, welcoming staff. If you visit, be sure and try the campfire vanilla soft serve ice cream and grab a wood-fired daisy pizza, made of crust, basil, mozzarella and tomato sauce. Cart-Driver is also known for their fresh oysters. Try a little Italy cocktail, made of carpano, c.p. cherry, rye and cynar or grab a glass of wine and enjoy the late-night crowd at this romantic Italian restaurant.

Los Chingones
Head to 2463 Larimer Street to grab lunch or dinner at this Denver River North hot spot. Choose from cold menu items like whitefish crudo with prickly pear vinaigrette and fennel-apple-serrano slaw or garden guacamole with pumpkin seeds, corn salsa and tomatoes. Enjoy a dish off the hot menu like a Colorado empanada, made with elk, wild boar, buffalo, antelope, venison, crema and corn pico. Give the jalapeno margarita a try if you’re looking for an intense beverage and enjoy the 12 kinds of tacos with out-of-the-ordinary options like rattlesnake chorizo and octopus. Los Chingones serves classic Latin American fair with a Colorado twist, mixing local meats like venison and antelope and not-so-local options like octopus and avocado. Be sure to choose wisely when picking a salsa, the habanero is so hot it hurts.

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