1950s ephemera decorate Gunther Toody's eight Colorado locations, lending an extra boost of Americana to plates of classic diner food such as burgers and meatloaf. The menu even draws its inspiration from American pop culture of yore, with Elvis fries, burgers named for Howdy Doody, and Big Bopper breakfasts served on platters of chantilly lace. Classic ice-cream treats including shakes, malteds, and black cows help lead each meal to a suitably sweet conclusion.
For the four Denver residents who founded The LocaL, their community is the driving force behind their hearty eats. The team’s commitment to all things local begins in their kitchen, where chefs forge Mexican-inspired cuisine classics for breakfast, lunch, and early dinner using locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. Throughout the day, the staff brews coffee made with Denver-roasted Pablo’s beans, arranges strips of antibiotic- and hormone-free bacon alongside local eggs, and grills burger patties formed from The Local’s proprietary blend of local beef.
Within their welcoming dining space, cheery green walls and a '50s diner–style counter set the scene for leisurely feeding frenzies. On the outdoor patio, guests can sample the diner’s 12 flavors of housemade ice cream under the protective cover of umbrellas.
Established in 1927 and featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives, Sam’s No. 3 in Denver is a family-owned restaurant that embraces its old fashioned diner personality. There’s plenty of seating inside the large space, with traditional vinyl booths and long counter seating available to all, plus a bar in the back for anyone looking to grab a quick drink. Serving oversized portions of breakfast, lunch and dinner, the menu at Sam’s is a creative mix of American classics and tasty Tex-Mex meals, with a few Greek options thrown in for good measure. That means char-grilled burgers, large, looming burritos and shaved Greek gyros. Looking for a chili fix? You’ll get your fill here with their family recipes of red chili and kickin’ green chili ready to top any item on the menu, while its downtown location makes for great people-watching.
Kyle's Kitchen churns out American favorites, from eggs and hash browns to monthly meatloaf specials, thanks to two short-order cooks named Jerry and Liane. Seven days a week, this duo douses pancakes with maple syrup and tops burgers and hot dogs with grilled onions. They also craft meatless options such as salads and vegetarian green chili. When entrees have been consumed, Jerry and Liane dole out scoops of ice cream that they made by milking a block of ice.
When it comes to comfort food, Two Dog Diner knows when to experiment and when to bank on the classics. That's why the menu has such staples as chicken-fried steak alongside signature dishes like the prawn club sandwich. One quintessential holdover from the golden days, though, is an all-day breakfast selection. No matter the hour, guests can order house-made corned beef hash, chicken-apple sausage, and loaded omelets.
Of course, another mainstay is gravy—you can have it on your chicken and waffle, as well as poured over your fries or into your pocket for later consumption. The rest of the sauces and spreads might be more unexpected. The grilled salmon sandwich comes with basil aioli, for example, whereas the pork chop entree derives flavor from coffee molasses. Many of these fixings are made in house, from the applesauce on the potato pancakes to the tartar sauce served with the fish 'n' chips.