At Salento Restaurant, his second BYOB venture, chef Davide Faenza draws on his roots in the region of Puglia, on the heel of the Italian boot, to fill a menu of authentic Italian fare. Home to “some of the finest raw ingredients in Italy,” according to a 2007 Philadelphia Weekly review, Puglia is known for its fresh seafood and simple pasta dishes. At Salento, servers carry in homemade gnocchi, sautéed fish filets, and other entrees that do justice to this tradition. After popping the last golden raisin from a balsamic-glazed chicken breast, guests can admire the dining room's glowing chandeliers, blue velvet curtains, and enormous mirror reflecting hungry pizza-delivery boys peeking in the front windows.
The Copper Pot?s name is inspired, in part, by the great American metaphor of the melting pot in that its menu represents a hodgepodge of classic American dishes such as meatloaf and chicken-fried steak. Some of these recipes have been tweaked and reinvented such as the baked mac 'n' cheese with shrimp and the fish 'n' chips with panko beer batter. Inside the restaurant, staffers attempt to cultivate a neighborhoody vibe, getting to know their clients instead of just yelling "Norm" as people walk in the door.
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.
Street-style tacos and quesadillas. Earthy tamales. Gorditas overflowing with fixings. These are just a few of the many dishes at Jalapenos, an unassuming eatery that cooks up made-to-order authentic Mexican cuisine daily. Jalapenos’ diners can savor their delectable entrees inside the restaurant or pull into the drive-thru on their way home or to a Bring Your Own Burrito party.
John Pinelli had lived across the country, but he always returned to one place: Philadelphia. Each year, no matter where he was, he would come back to that city like a boomerang. A very hungry boomerang. During his visits, he devoured cheese steaks, Italian hoagies, water ice, and Tastykakes snack pies. He just wished he could bring one of those restaurants back to his home in Denver. Instead, he opened South Philly Cheese Steaks in 2004.
Pinelli's decision to leave his corporate job perplexed his family, but he knew he was on to something. After all, he knew how to make italian hoagies and hot roast beef. He knew how to bake Philly-style pizza, and of course, he knew how to assemble an authentic Philadelphia cheese steak. It all proved successful, and South Philly Cheese Steaks now has several locations across Denver and its surrounding areas?with more likely to come.
At each restaurant, a simple dining room greets patrons with casual tables and a custom mural of Philadelphia's skyline. In the kitchen, cooks work with many ingredients sourced right from Philly. In addition to the classic cheese steak, they assemble special varieties, such as a pizza cheese steak with provolone and marinara.
Given the cresting wave featured prominently in Costa Vida's logo, it's probably not surprising that they're inspired by what would otherwise seem like a random trade: surfboard shaping. They view the craft, with its patience, skill, and attention to detail, as noble, and they aim to put that same dedication into their handmade Mexican meals. They make everything from scratch daily—even the tortillas and salsas—and slow cook their signature seasoned meats for several hours before serving.
These ingredients go into classic dishes with sometimes unexpected ingredients: guests can choose to have their entree—be it burritos, tacos, or nachos—bulked up with anything from shredded beef to raspberry chipotle chicken. The menu also includes traditional Mexican desserts such as flan and tres leches, as well as fountain sodas from South-of-the-border brand Jarritos.