Dozens of eateries have already announced plans to open in the new year, a sign of the continued evolution of the culinary scene in the Mile High — and no, they’re not all chains. The projects that have us hungering for the future come from a diverse group of industry pros. Some are from long-established chefs and restaurateurs, another a popular, family-run food truck moving into a brick-and-mortar. And two are in a suburb that hasn’t really been known for having a strong food scene…though that’s changing, fast.
All of them are poised to serve up some of the best eats in town once they debut. These are the ten most anticipated restaurant openings o 2023, in alphabetical order:
Fox and the Hen
2257 West 32nd Avenue
Projected opening: Mid-February
Carrie Baird is a familiar name in the Denver dining scene. When she appeared on the fifteenth season of Top Chef in 2017, she was executive chef at Bar Dough, an Italian eatery that’s owned by the Culinary Creative Group. She left in February 2020 to open her own concept, Rose’s Classic Americana, at Rosetta Hall in Boulder, but then the pandemic hit and the venture shuttered in August of that year. In 2021 she rejoined Culinary Creative as the culinary director for Tap & Burger, and now her all-day breakfast concept, Fox and the Hen, is slated to open in the former Cebiche space in the Highland neighborhood, just steps from Bar Dough. It’s one of several additions coming for the growing restaurant group, which is planning to debut three more concepts in mid-April: a Detroit-style pizza joint called Red Tops Rendezvous in Jefferson Park; Kumoya, a Japanese eatery that will take over the current Tony P’s location; and the still-unnamed sister bar of Forget Me Not in Cherry Creek.
6985 West 38th Avenue, Wheat Ridge
Projected opening: Spring
In the first year of the pandemic, baking became the hottest trend in the city. New pop-up concepts specializing in sourdough, pastries and more seemed to be everywhere. Now, nearly three years later, many have grown into full-fledged businesses. GetRight’s is one of those, though owner Matt Dulin was baking long before COVID hit. He secured a brick-and-mortar space for his bakery and plant shop combo in January, and originally hoped to open by summer — but permitting in Wheat Ridge has proven to be difficult, largely because the city uses third-party contractors for the process. Despite the delays, Dulin has continued to work on perfecting his recipes through pop-ups. When GetRight’s does open, expect plenty of sweet options as well as savory ones, including grab-and-go items like sandwiches, salads and picnic essentials.
4337 Tennyson Street
Projected opening: January
Kelly Whitaker’s Id Est Hospitality Group is another big player in Colorado, operating some of the best fine-dining restaurants in the state, including the Wolf’s Tailor, Bruto and Basta. It also owns Dry Storage, a milling company on a mission to strengthen local food systems. Whitaker uses his restaurants as laboratories where he can prove out his ideas, and very soon (possibly even before January 1), he’ll add another. The restaurateur is collaborating with San Francisco chef Deuki Hong on the menu, which, like the one at the Wolf’s Tailor, is focused more on serving flavorful food made with techniques from around the world than a certain type of cuisine. The space, which is located on the third floor of boutique hotel the Asher, will also include a cocktail lounge dubbed Ok Yeah.
Kiké’s Red Tacos
1200 West 38th Avenue
Projected opening: TBD
Birria tacos have gone viral in recent years, and they appear in many forms on menus all over town, but one Denver food truck’s take on the traditional Mexican specialty draws crowds. Kiké’s (a nickname for Enrique, pronounced kee-kay), is run by Cesar Silva González and his family. While people are happy to wait outside or in their cars for a taste of this truck’s birria, that won’t be necessary next year, when it opens a brick-and-mortar location in the former Crush Pizza + Tap space. The new restaurant will allow the family to not only offer Kiké’s popular tacos, ramen and quesadillas, but to add options like carnitas and carne asada, as well as a more traditional take on birria made with goat.
846 Albion Street
Projected opening: Spring
In 2005, Rougi Dia became the first black woman to hold the executive-chef position at a Michelin-starred restaurant — Le Petrossian 144 in France, where she was born and raised. In 2019, she and her sister, Aminata, opened Le French in the Denver Tech Center, serving dishes that reflect both their French upbringing and their Senegalese roots. Soon diners in central Denver will have access to Le French’s fare, as the sisters prepare to open a second location at the 9+CO development off Colorado Boulevard and East Ninth Avenue.
Meta Asian Kitchen
39 West First Avenue
Projected opening: Late summer/early fall
Kenneth Wan and Doris Yuen opened Meta Asian Kitchen inside Avanti Food & Beverage in 2019, serving creative yet homey dishes that combined Cantonese and American Chinese flavors. The food hall location limited the menu, but they still managed such standouts as mozzarella sticks tossed in chili oil and pork bao buns made using Wan’s mother’s recipe. They’ll be able to expand their offerings next year, when the concept moves into a stand-alone brick-and-mortar in Baker.
Molotov Kitschen + Cocktails
3333 East Colfax Avenue
Projected opening: January
Chef Bo Porytko makes some of the most creative (and delicious) fare in Denver at his Misfit Snack Bar, which opened inside Colfax bar Middleman in 2019. Before that, he and then-partner Dan Laisy ran Rebel Restaurant, a divey, eclectic joint with an ambitiously adventurous menu. Molotov, which Porytko is opening just a block from Misfit in the former To the Wind Bistro space, will focus on his spin on Eastern European cuisine with an emphasis on Ukrainian fare, a nod to his heritage. When Molotov debuts shortly after the start of the new year, it will offer two intimate dining experiences: à la carte options in the small dining room, which seats about twenty, and a separate tasting menu that will be served at the eight seats around the kitchen.
Rich Spirit Bagels
10081 West 26th Avenue, Wheat Ridge
Projected opening: Spring/summer
Denver has always been short on options for bagels, but the new year will give fans of this East Coast favorite reason to celebrate. The popular Bakery Four, which moved into a large location at 4150 Tennyson Street in March, is planning to open a stand-alone bagel-centric concept in the current Little Brazil space at Gold’s Marketplace in Wheat Ridge. Unlike traditional New York-style bagels, Rich Spirits will specialize in a sourdough take, adding a slight tang paired with the classic chewy-inside-crisp-outside texture. Also moving into Denver next year: East Coast bagel chain Call Your Mother, which is planning to open two locations, at 1291 Pearl Street and 3870 Tennyson Street.
3832 Tennyson Street
Projected opening: TBD
Another pandemic startup that has found big success, Right Cream began when David Right and business partner Joshua Siegel began delivering ice cream to the quarantined masses in 2020. In the summer of 2021, it moved into a small space with a walk-up window in RiNo, where lines formed regularly for its creative flavors loaded with housemade mix-ins. This year, it relocated to the Dairy Block, but it will really grow when it debuts at its future home on Tennyson, which will function as a production facility with a small scoop-shop window and plenty of patio seating.
2550 East Colfax Avenue
Projected opening: April
Anna and Anthony Nguyen moved from California to Longmont in 2020 and began serving Vietnamese food from a cart, offering dishes inspired by Anthony’s upbringing as a first-generation Vietnamese American. The concept soon grew, and the Nguyens began offering a series of pop-up dinners at Pizzeria Locale in Boulder, Sunday Vinyl in Denver and Hickory and Ash in Broomfield. With a following of fans, the couple is now working on moving the concept into a permanent location. The name Sap Sua translates to “about to be,” and with the Nguyens primed to make their food available on a consistent basis, Denver is about to be even more delicious.