As we dive into Boulder’s vibrant food scene, we’re highlighting some locally owned restaurants that standout. These come from a thorough review of the local restaurant scene, conversations with restaurateurs and locals in BLDRfly editors’ network. If you have one to nominate, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week we feature some of Boulder’s unique, new(-ish) food spots. Restaurants we explore this week include: Avanti Food & Beverage, Ruthie’s Boardwalk Social, Chimera Ramen, Arcana, and DAIKON.
Avanti Food & Beverage — 1401 Pearl Street
Boulder’s newest food hall, Avanti Food & Beverage opened earlier this month with six restaurants, two bars and one coffee shop on Pearl Street Mall next to the Boulder Theater.
The 13,000-square-foot space features a market-style first floor with cuisines from Venezuela, Taiwan, the Middle East, Denver’s Jewish neighborhood deli and local Colorado-grown food in its farmers market and craft kitchen concept, and a New York-style pizzeria on the fourth floor along with a bar and rooftop patio which features 270-degree mountain views including the Flatirons and Sanitas.
Beckie and Igor Panasewicz, Jerrod Rosen and Ross Goldberg, Charles Troup and Chase Deitt, Travis Masar and Darren Chang, Nicholas Kayser, Steve Redzikowski. Images: Tatyana Sharpton
As the city’s second food hall, following Rosetta Hall’s opening in October 2019, Avanti serves as a business launchpad — an incubator for restaurateurs to test concepts in a real kitchen, and has plans to rotate these restaurants every couple of years. Its six-restaurant launch roster includes:
- Quiero Arepas — A 100 percent gluten-free Venezuelan arepa restaurant run by husband-and-wife team Igor and Beckie Panasewicz.
- Rye Society — The second outpost for Denver’s Jewish neighborhood delicatessen, run by owners Jerrod Rosen and Ross Goldberg, which takes traditional Jewish flavors and and bakes them into creative concepts like “Jewish Tacos.”
- Boychik — Traditional middle eastern foods such as shawarma, muhammara, baba ganoush and falafel prepared and served with a twist, founded Charles Troup and Chase Devitt.
- Pig and Tiger — Modern Taiwanese cuisine run by Darren Chang and Travis Masar, with menu items like Spicy Shrimp Wontons, Jade Rice with Taiwanese Pesto, a selection of soft Taiwanese buns — like its Sichuan Hot Chicken — and gluten-free Mochi donuts, made in-house.
- Rooted Craft American Kitchen — Originally launched by Nicholas Kayser as a vegetarian + vegan fast-food approach to slow food, Rooted features local farm produce and meats in its delicious market and craft menus.
- New Yorkese — Founded by Oak at Fourteenth owner Steve Redzikowski, New Yorkese serves classic, New York-style pizza and features an entire selection of Burrata Cheese plates which come with warm, homemade bread.
Ruthie’s Boardwalk Social — 1397 Pearl Street Mall
Launched in 2018 by Peter Waters, co-owner of T/ACO, Ruthie’s Boardwalk Social serves up gourmet grilled cheese inspired by Peter’s grandmother and memories of classic East Coast beach feels.
The boardwalk-type stand serves nine varieties of grilled cheese sandwiches, from The Classic (delicious, plain cheesey goodness) to its Raspberry Beret with raspberry jam and gouda, and the Hawaiian-style Mahalo with smoked gouda, white chedder, ham and pineapple. Ruthie’s also sells french fries, tomato soup and soft serve ice cream to round out the Pearl Street’s boardwalk experience.
The best part — the food takes hardly any time to make and Ruthie’s Pearl Mall location offers plenty of outdoor seating and often with live music. It also makes for an easy takeout spot as it sits right off of 14th street!
Chimera Ramen — 2014 10th Street
Opened in April 2018 by Edwin Zoe, the same restaurateur behind fast-casual Taiwanese Zoe Ma Ma (its neighboring hub), Chimera Ramen‘s namesake represents a mythical beast composed of multiple animals — a nod to its roots. The Pacific-Rim inspired restaurant, led by executive chef Corey Buck, features Chinese, Japanese and Korean cuisines, and it makes all of its ramen noodles — as well as the steamed buns — from scratch.
Some of Chimera’s stand-out dishes among its menu of noodles, bok choy and soup dumplings include spicy Korean seafood hot pot, tea-smoked chicken fried rice, Korean barbecue, and of course, ramen. It also serves sake and beer!
Arcana — 909 Walnut Street
Launched in 2016 by local restaurant industry vets Annie and Elliott Toan as an American heritage restaurant, Arcana serves up elevated downhome-inspired food, focusing on pre-colonial influences, the American Southeast and seasonal cuisine with ingredients sourced locally from Colorado. Samuel McCandless heads up Arcana’s kitchen as its fourth executive chef.
Recently, Arcana launched a three-month Dream Vacation Series — a special rotating menus featuring a different culture each month which it runs in place of its regular menu. Arcana featured Mexico in September and currently, Japan, with the idea of taking guests on culinary journeys at a time when travel has gotten, in many ways, canceled.
Some of the restaurant’s classic highlights include its Lobster Bisque with lemon oil, Nori and Togarashi, its Hamachi Ceviche with grapefruit, cucumber, pickled ginger, red onion and mint, and some of this month’s Japanese features include Masu Box where you build you own handrolls with sushi rice, radish, nori, scallion, Japanese ginger root and choice of salmon, Hamachi or avocado. The cozy restaurant also features all served on earthenware pottery plates custom-made by California artist Lynn Mahone.
DAIKON — 1805 29th Street Mall
Opened on 29th Street Mall in November 2019 by brothers Rob and Lon McGowan, with a second location coming this November to Pearl Street Mall’s West End, DAIKON specializes in the Vietnamese-French fusion banh mi sandwich, which features a baguette filled with meat such as pork and topped with cilantro, cucumber, and pickled veggies including daikon, a white radish-like root native to southeast and continental East Asia.
Rob McGowan heads up culinary operations as head chef with a pared-down menu that focuses on simplicity and quality.
DAIKON offers sandwiches, bowls and most recently, pho (The Mighty Pho, to be exact.) The restaurant also does a great job of marketing its product, educating people on banh mi, how it’s made, and featuring its groovy dancing brand legend, Bobby Banh in epic banh-related mini films and commercials.
Header Image: Avanti Food & Beverage’s New Yorkese, with Steve Redzikowski. Image: Tatyana Sharpton.