After spending years working for Dominos Pizza, Vince Schmuhl decided that he could do a better job of preparing and delivering quality pies to people's homes. He challenged the nationwide chain's dominance in the region by founding the first Blackjack Pizza on June 29, 1983.
Although delivering oven-fresh pies within 30 minutes was still a major goal for Schmuhl, he emphasized the importance of quality ingredients using sauce made from freshly packed tomatoes as well as hand-tossed dough that never sees the inside of a freezer or cryogenic chamber. This dedication to quality and speedy service allowed Blackjack Pizza to not only survive, but also thrive over the decades. The chain now includes more than 40 stores operating in four different states.
In addition to offering seven signature pies, Blackjack Pizza also allows customers to build their own order from crust to toppings. A choice of up to four savory, tangy, and piquant sauces form the base, topped with any of the 3 available cheeses, 7 meats, and 10 freshly diced vegetables. Regardless of the toppings, Blackjack Pizza respects the potential danger of food allergies by ensuring that none of its pies ever contain traces of MSG, peanuts, or peanut oil.
A movie palace to its core, The Cinema Grill favors a vibrant color scheme rarely seen outside the early days of Technicolor. The lobby's multi-hued walls surround the checkerboard box office with bright yellows, blues, and purples, while neon curlicues on the ceiling beckon movie-goers toward their movie. The menu of American staples mirrors the colorful decor with glowing margaritas, desserts topped with maraschino cherries, quesadillas speckled with green peppers, and deep-fried rainbows. Once ensconced in their swivel chairs, guests bathe in the high-definition (and sometimes three-dimensional) glow of the silver screen as servers take food orders and keep eating areas laden with plates of buffalo wings and shrimp fettuccine alfredo. Beers, cocktails, or glasses of wine are also available.
At African Grill and Bar, owners Osei and Adowa Ford-Wuo strive to make everyone’s African dining experience fun and unintimidating, personally attending to guests and making suggestions from the menu of beef and goat stews, fried snapper and grouper, and fragrantly spiced spinach and vegetable plates. Unlike traditional American starches such as boring white bread and canisters of uncooked biscuit dough, even the carbs of West African cuisine lend distinct flavors to plates. Fried plantains, ground cassava, and tender spheroids of pounded yam accompany dishes, which range from groundnut soups to chicken curries. Fried-rice pilafs pop with the vibrant colors of spinach, tomato, and spices, complementing the décor of dark red tables, wicker chairs, leafy plants, and walls bedecked with African woodworking and weaving.
Masala Xpress's cooks forge popular Indian dishes by using regional cooking techniques and the cuisine's signature combinations of herbs and spices. In addition to the vegetarian and vegan options, chefs can blend chicken, lamb, or shrimp into their fragrant sauces, crafting fiery vindaloos as well as creamy tomato-herb masalas. A traditional clay tandoor oven roasts savory kebabs of chicken and lamb until they are tender and evenly seared.
Located on the lower level of the Aurora Mall, the restaurant allows diners to fit a hearty south Asian meal into a busy day of shopping and scrounging for Drummer Boy quarters in the wishing fountain.
Cinderella’s glass slippers have nothing on the boots that traverse Helga's German Restaurant and Deli’s bar every night. Filled with 2 liters of Hofbrau Oktoberfest, Warsteiner Pils, or any of the other German beers on tap, these boots find their perfect match in the hands of guests who shout “Prost!” before tearing into soft pretzels baked in the Bavarian tradition.
Founded by a mother and daughter in 1989, Helga’s began as a four-table restaurant whose modest size seemed sometimes at odds with the giant pretzels and boot-size beers. However, the restaurant continued to grow and earn fans, many of who traversed the Rockies to sample its faithful interpretations of bratwurst, schnitzel, and other Rhineland staples. Though much of the menu remains the same as in those early days, the restaurant itself has expanded to resemble a lively German pub in the midst of Oktoberfest. When they aren’t molding sides of sauerkraut into tiny models of German soccer star Michael Ballack, guests can play beer pong for prizes, watch the national team on 50-inch televisions, or dance to live music played by the house band on the second and last Friday night of each month.