Weekly pre-fixe menus have become a restaurant staple, but at Le Central, the chefs have added their own personal touches. Each menu is inspired by the home region of one of the employees, a nod to both the authenticity of the restaurant’s French cuisine and the feeling of community it cultivates. The Olivier menu, for example, is in honor of the management’s newest member, who hails from the French Alps of Savoie. This is the land of cheese, walnuts, morels, and veal; so fittingly, the menu starts with an arugula salad with goat cheese and walnuts. On other weeks, diners can enjoy meals inspired by server Pascal’s home of Bezier in the Languedoc region, pastry chef Dominique’s childhood in Southern Brittany at the mouth of the Loire Valley, and charcuterie chef Phillippe’s roots in the German-influenced Alsace region. In addition to the prix-fixe offerings, the à la carte menu is populated with French staples such as house-made pâtés and moules frites—the classic combination of sweet black mussels and salty french fries. Homemade sausages, duck, and trout are bedecked with indulgent touches such as gastriques and brown butter. Pastry chef Dominique whips up sweets in house, including colorful, airy macarons and a croquembouche: a tower of cream puffs that traditionally serves as the dessert at French weddings. The warmly lit dining room gives off the feel of a Provençal cottage, with natural wooden beams, exposed brick, and traditional wooden furniture. Diners can also enjoy dinner on an enclosed patio, with rustic wooden touches and strings of white lights that twinkle at night.
The men behind Waffle Brothers aren't really brothers?one is from Las Vegas and the other is from Sydney, Australia?but they share a singular quest to create the perfect waffle. Friends John Power and Rod Dupen spent a year-and-a-half honing their technique, and three years traveling to festivals and charity events. At each gathering, they invited Denverites to sample their fresh-off-the-iron goods. In 2010, after many culinary experiments and test tubes ruined by waffle batter, the duo opened their first restaurant.
Every waffle on the menu comes infused with authentic Belgian sugar, which melts into the dough, then caramelizes on the exterior for a sweet and crunchy taste. Customers can personalize their waffles with an array of toppings, including fresh fruit, Nutella, caramel, and peanut butter. Waffles Brothers' other offerings include bagels, specialty sandwiches, salads, and ice cream.
After years spent working in other restaurants and bakeries, Jyll Tuggle had a dream to open her own neighborhood eatery where folks could gather to enjoy quality cuisine and hearty conversation. That dream became Under The Umbrella Cafe and Bakery, a cozy brick-walled eatery that quickly won the Denver Post’s endorsement for its light, homemade fare and friendly, local vibe. Families can frequently be found filling seats in the kid-friendly confines, drawn in by a menu peppered with house-baked cinnamon rolls, filled croissants, breakfast burritos, and grilled sandwiches served with a choice of side such as homemade potato salad. Denver-based Pablo's Coffee fills cups with heady brews as laptops luxuriate in the waves of free WiFi and area psychics flock to read their futures in the loose leaves used to steep steaming cups of Sterling tea.
One of Denver’s oldest coffee houses, Paris on Platte, located in Lower Highland, is an artsy hangout for sophisticated students cracking the books and prowling the internet, caffeine junkies, philosophers discussing the world’s woes and old-timers wistful for nostalgia. The bohemian space, bedecked with kaleidoscopic artwork, creaky wood floors, weathered wooden booths and tables and a fully equipped barista counter, encourages lingering, and people post up for hours, sipping cappuccinos and snacking on sandwiches, soups, salads, pizzas and a full board of desserts. At night, the adjacent wine bar, located next door, features live music, a chill vibe and a weekday happy hour from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
The sun has set on the town of Denver, but the neon sign on Winchell’s Donut House is still aglow. The familiar smell of baking donuts wafts out from the 24-hour establishment's door, drawing night owls in for steaming cups of coffee and french crullers, jelly donuts, and moist chocolate muffins. A shift change occurs come daytime; breakfasters replace nocturnal dwellers, chatting over freshly made bagels, spicy egg sandwiches, and meaty burritos before the lunch crowd shows up. The donut shop also offers delivery services throughout the local area, transporting freshly made pastries directly to a home, office, or secret rendezvous point at an all-vegetable convention.
Proudly displaying the English flag at the entrance, the House of Commons serves lunch and afternoon tea daily, providing lower downtown Denver with a little bit of England. The menu is full of fanciful English named salads and double-decker sandwiches, including Wimbledon, Kensington and Balmoral. The tradition of afternoon tea at the House of Commons includes time-honored finger sandwiches (including vegetarian options), miniature English scones lathered with Devonshire cream served with unlimited choice of tea, sourced from all over the world. House of Commons also hosts private events and special occasion, which make a perfect afternoon for a bunch of girlfriends.