Where to Drink Now: Bigsby’s Folly

Big things are happening on Brighton Street. A few years ago, the area was a hodgepodge of old industrial buildings, storage units, and long strips of no man’s land. However, with the introduction of high-end businesses and concepts—including The Source and the coworking/mixed used space INDUSTRY, to name a few—the area has undergone rapid changes. Under a constant barrage of construction, the strip now boasts a new wave of businesses, restaurants, and high-rise apartments. Old buildings are even being refreshed and repurposed to cater to the new area. Sure, the construction is a pain, but we recommend making the journey through the orange cones (preferably via Lyft) to discover something entirely new. One swanky concept worth the trek: Bigsby’s Folly {3563 Wazee Street, Denver; 720.485.3158}.

bigsby's folly

Photo courtesy of Teri Fotheringham Photography

Behind the winery

Owners Chad and Marla Yetka have always had a love for the wine industry. The couple dreamed of settling in Napa Valley after retirement, with the hopes of opening their own winery. But once Chad was laid off from his career in oil and gas, the duo decided to make the jump to the wine industry. Instead of opting for a prime space in Golden State wine country, the duo decided to stay local and introduce the varietals of California to Denver with Bigsby’s Folly.

Opened on June 16, Bigsby’s Folly introduces high-quality wines without all the pretension. “What brew pubs have done for beer, that’s what we want do with our winery,” says Marla. To that end, the concept mission is to make wine more approachable through education and community-building.

The space

Built in 1886, the 7,000-square-foot warehouse has seen its fair share of tenants—from an automotive shop to rock drillers and, most recently, a mixed storage unit. While still retaining its charm with well-worn brick and exposed timber, the space has been refurbished into an incredibly swanky spot, emulating the roaring ’20s with retro green lounge chairs and a gorgeous, glittering chandelier crowning the sleek, wooden bar. The space also houses a barrel-aging room, a full-on production facility—soon to experience its first “crush” this fall—and a private tasting room.  Just in time for the season, the winery completed two dog-friendly patios with outdoor games and a firepit for watching the sun go down.

What to drink

bigsby's folly

To bring the dream alive, the Yetkas brought in the help of two-award winning winemakers, Brian Graham and Chris Nelson. Graham studied techniques of Old World winemaking at the châteaux of Bordeaux and Burgundy while Nelson brings over a decade of experience to BF, cutting his teeth at wineries in California, Washington, and New Zealand. Graham will source a variety of the best grapes in Napa Valley while Nelson will serve as the onsite winemaker.

One of the only wineries in Denver to hold a vintner’s license—which allows a restaurant to sell food and alcoholic beverages while also producing their own product—Bigsby’s has the flexibility of selling their own wines while also showcasing varietals from around the world. With 12 taps dedicated to wine, BF can deliver selections by the glass or by the growler. Guests can also opt for specialty tasting flights, including a Rosé Flight, or taste the entire lineup with The Folly Five. If you somehow find yourself at the winery and you don’t enjoy wine, never fear; the bar houses four taps for craft beer on top of a quaint offering of cocktails.

For a true lover of wine, Bigsy’s offers a special Winemaker for a Day. Learn a bit of history behind the varietal, while you craft, taste, and blend your own red wine creation. Guests can take home a bottle the same day and can even create their own label.

What to eat

bigsby's folly

Braised Short Rib French Dip with melted Swiss on a potato roll, au jus, and horseradish cream dipping sauce; served with a side of kettle chips

For food, the couple tapped Rebecca Austin, who previously owned Vinue Food and Wine Bar in Cherry Creek. Austin has introduced classic wine pairing fare, including a Charcuterie Board—featuring Spanish chorizo and Italian salami—with other snackable options, including Sea Salted Kettle Chips dressed with bleu cheese Mornay and a balsamic reduction. For heavier appetites, guests can nosh on a menu of flatbreads, salads, and meatier fare including Braised Short Rib French Dip.

bigsby's folly

Giving Back

Before Marla jumped on board with the winery, she had one condition—that the concept tie in her love of animals. Thus, Bigsby’s Folly not only honors the Yetkas’ late golden retriever—by naming the winery after him and incorporating his likeness into the BF branding—but Bigsby’s also gives back to the local community—animals and humans alike. Each quarter, the winery sponsors a partner, including local artists and animal welfare organizations, giving a portion of sales to charity. The winery also hopes to host community giving days, where all proceeds will benefit their pairing partners. Guests can also buy Bigsby’s Biscuits, of which 100-percent of the proceeds will benefit Morris Animal Foundation.

Bigsby’s Folly is open Monday through Thursday 4-10 pm; Friday 2-11 pm; Saturday noon to 11 pm; and Sunday noon-8 pm. 

Photography and story by Morgan Carter, Editor. 

(Posted originally on DiningOut Magazine)

Brunch O’ Clock: Hearth & Dram

Union Station—it’s not just for out-of-towners. Thanks to a much needed revamp in 2014, Union Station now serves as a hub for travelers and locals alike, offering an array of restaurants, bars, and shops. In the past few months alone, an eclectic mix of restaurants have sprouted around the area; from elevated Southern eats at Tupelo Southern Kitchen & Bar to the all-day café Stella’s on 16th, our hunger has never been better sated. Newcomer on the scene Hearth & Dram {1801 Wewatta Street, Denver; 303.623.0979} prides itself on wood-fired New American fare paired with over 300 glittering bottles of whiskey, showcased in a seductive atmosphere. The sleek venue is a prime spot for a date night, but now that the restaurant has launched its new brunch menu, morning visits are a must.

What to eat

hearth & dram

A d0-not-miss fixture on the provisions menu, the Chocolate Ganache Doughnut

A balanced mix of sweet and savory, brunch offerings at Hearth & Dram are sure to please any AM venturer. To satisfy a morning sweet-tooth, the Fluffernutter French Toast with sliced bananas, peanut buttercream, crispy strips of maple bacon, and maple syrup stacked on a tower of pillowy bread is truly a sweet surprise. For more savory appetites, the Cheese-Crusted Breakfast Burrito filled to the brim with juicy shreds of charred short rib, scrambled eggs, avocado, and pinto beans with grilled slabs of cheese, toasted on each side, is sure to please. Looking to brunch without being weighed down by carbs? Try the Minute Steak & Eggs with two fried eggs, ciabatta, watercress, and steak fat potatoes (for a little bit of indulgence). But for those of us who don’t believe in counting calories on the weekend, a must-try is the fried-to-order Chocolate Ganache Doughnut, a serious chocolate indulgence topped with chocolate pearls and a generous dollop of whipped cream.

hearth & dram

Cheese-Crusted Breakfast Burrito

What to drink

hearth & dram

Union Station Spritzer

With a sizeable portion of the restaurant dedicated to the bar, it’s no surprise that H&D has a roster of morning cocktails that are above par. For a refreshing morning spritz, order the Union Station Spritzer with Mandarin vodka, aperol, white wine, and grapefruit syrup. Or, for a mix of floral and fruity, try the Rambler crafted with gin, crème de violette, Prosecco, and lemon. For a little sip and snack, order the Wake ‘n’ Bacon, a bourbon and cold brew number topped with—you guessed it—bacon.

hearth & dram

The Rambler | Photo credit Ashley Carter

Photography and story by Morgan Carter, Editor

(Story posted on DiningOut Magazine)

Seven Ice Cream Creations You Can’t Miss

Keep your cool this summer with these delicious frozen treats

Summer is in full swing—the clothing sticking to our back says so. Of course, there is no better way to cool down than with your favorite cone in hand. This summer, instead of opting for your tried and true flavor, break out of the cone and explore some truly inventive ice cream creations made right here in Denver.

1. Taco Tuesdays at Nuggs

ice cream denver

Photo courtesy of Nuggs Ice Cream

We’ll admit, we love tacos in every form. And at Nuggs Ice Cream {5135 East Colfax Avenue, Denver;  720.465.9473} we’ve found a new type of taco to drool over—the waffle taco. The folks at Nuggs have drummed up their own version of “Taco Tuesday,” where you can order three scoops of your choosing (vegan options are available), complete with unlimited toppings, served on a gluten-free shell.

2. Shaved snow at Snowlab

ice cream denver

Photo courtesy of Snow Lab

Snow in the summer? It’s possible—it is Colorado after all. But the folks at Snowlab {4360 East Evans Avenue, Denver; 720.663.8886} have made it a definite reality. Offering guilt-free eats, this fluffy, melt in your mouth treat is perfect for those hot days ahead. Bonus? The base behind this Taiwanese dessert is soy milk—perfect for vegan and lactose intolerant eaters.

3. Unique Flavors at Sweet Action Ice Cream

ice cream

Vegan coffee ice cream topped with vegan doughnuts from Beet Box Bakery

Honey Jalapeño Pickle. May sound weird to you but at Sweet Action Ice Cream {52 Broadway, Denver; 303.282.4645} it sounds like a best seller. Using pickles from The Real Dill, this unique treat runs out surprisingly fast. Never fear; Sweet Action offers a variety of interesting scoops on rotation such as Tequila Jalapeño Cream Cheese to the sweet Horchata. 

4. Thai treats at Chaos & Cream

ice cream denver

Frozen Hot Chocolate | Photo courtesy of Chaos & Cream

Ice cream is best on the go, and at Chaos & Cream {720.504.7655}, it is as mobile as it gets. Inspired by ice cream carts found on the streets of Thailand, this mobile cart houses two 18-inch compressor-powered surfaces, cooled to -10 degrees Fahrenheit. Add in fresh ingredients and flavored cream, and watch your ice cream be chopped, smoothed, and rolled right in front of your eyes. The cart regularly makes appearances at Cherry Creek Fresh Market {1st Avenue and University, Denver}The Source {3350 Brighton Boulevard, Denver; 720.443.1135}, and has even made it’s way to the ‘burbs. Keep tabs on their Facebook page to see where they roll up next.

5. Good things come in pairs at Frozen Matter

ice creamdenver

Champagne floats anyone? | Photo courtesy of Frozen Matter

Scoop and a shot? Only at Frozen Matter {530 East 19th Avenue, Denver; 720.600.6358}. One part ice cream and one part speakeasy—thanks to the secretive drinking haunt, Retrograde—makes Frozen Matter the perfect stop for a little adult fun. Although most of the boozy good times lie behind the freezer door—aka the entrance to the bar—feel free to enjoy a scoop and a shot right inside the parlor. Pick your own spirit and scoop pairing or ask for a recommendation of tried and true combinations like the Strawberries + Cream with a shot of Rum Chata or give your taste buds a whirl with Olive Oil Ice Cream with salt and a glass of Campari.

6. Nostalgic eats at Ice Cream Riot

ice cream denver

Photo courtesy of Ice Cream Riot

Reminisce on the sugary cereals of childhood at Ice Cream Riot {1238 East Colfax Avenue, Denver, 720.475.1853}. Owner Jim McNutt nailed down our sugary breakfast favorites, offering flavors such as Fruity Pebbles, Trix, and Cookie Crisp. For a treat like no other, don’t miss out on the Instagrammable ice cream sandwiches. With a cool scoop of ice cream nestled in-between two Pop Tarts, breakfast never tasted so good.

7. The Gooie Cooie at Sweet Cooie’s

ice cream denver

Photo courtesy of Sweet Cooie’s

Little Man Ice Cream’s little sister, Sweet Cooie’s {3506 East 12th Avenue, Denver, 720.550.7140} has truly gained a following all its own. We could chalk it up to the 1950’s vibe or the delightful jewel box truffles, but, if we had to guess, we would have to bet on the mouthwatering treat, The Gooie Cooie.  This sweet treat crafted with a healthy scoop of ice cream, nestled between a brioche doughnut, topped with a generous ooze of icing, is certainly a dessert to remember.

[Sweet Cooie’s Brings the Tiffany of Ice Cream to Congress Park]

By Morgan Carter, Editor

8 Dog-Friendly Patios in Denver/Boulder

The dog days of summer are here

Colorado is notorious for being a pup-friendly city—everything we do, our dogs do along with us. Our favorite bars and restaurants have taken note, offering dog-friendly areas so you can eat and drink right alongside your best friends. Here are a few spots to take Fido in Denver and Boulder.

Denver Beer Co.

Dog friendly patios denver

Photo courtesy of Denver Beer Co

For the best dog watching in town, Denver Beer Co {1695 Platte Street, Denver; 303.433.2739} is the place to be. Grab a beer and post up on the outdoor patio with your fuzzy friend or, if your dog is well-behaved, keep him leashed inside the venue.

Black Shirt Brewing

Black Shirt Brewing

Photo courtesy of Black Shirt Brewing

Black Shirt Brewing {3719 Walnut Street, Denver; 303.993.2799} is a great spot for music-lovers, beer aficionados, and dog lovers, alike. The RiNo brewery houses two outdoor seating areas that are both pet-friendly, allowing you to people watch from the curb or duck away to the back beer garden, which doubles as a cozy music venue.

Ratio Beerworks

dog-friendly patios

Photo courtesy of Ratio Beerworks

Walking inside Ratio Beerworks {2920 Larimer Street, Denver 303.997.8288}, it’s pretty standard to see a pupper or two. This RiNo beer haven welcomes all kinds, allowing guests can bring their leashed dogs and find a little relaxation on the patio. If the rays get a little too hot for your furry friend, the indoor concrete floor will serve as a much-needed refuge.

Watering Bowl

watering bowl

Photo courtesy of Watering Bowl

Like the dog park but wish there was more beer? The Watering Bowl {5411 Leetsdale Drive, Denver; 720.217.7838} is where it’s at. This 7,000-square-foot doggie paradise with the tagline “Your Best Friends Bar” is the only venue in Denver doubles as a full functional dog park and tavern. Feel free to let your best friend roam, sans leash, and find their own group of pub friends.

Forest Room 5

dog friendly patios

Photo courtesy of Forest Room 5

Want to take your dog to the mountains without all the…mountains? For an outdoor experience without leaving the confines of the city, hike up to Forest Room 5 {2532 15th Street, Denver, CO; 303.433.7001}. The outdoor patio, equipped with fire pits, a river, and yes, even a tipi, offers exploration for both man and dog alike.

Racines

dog-friendly patios

Photo courtesy of Racine’s

A mainstay of the Denver dining scene, Racine’s {650 Sherman Street, Denver;
303.595.0418
} not only caters to hungry Denverites but their pooches too. The quaint front patio, equipped with shaded umbrellas offers the summertime experience for the both of you.

BOULDER

Avery Brewing Company

dog-friendly patios denver boulder

Photo courtesy of Avery Brewing Co

It’s evident that the folks behind Avery Brewing Company {4910 Nautilus Court North, Boulder; 303.440.4324} have a thing for dogs. Case in point, the brewhouse famed brew, Ellie’s Brown Ale, features the president/brewmasters own pup right on the label. Grab a brew, order up a few bites from the full-service restaurant, and people/puppy watch on the spacious outdoor patio. Although you can’t bring your pup on the astro turf, let them burn off some energy in the huge grassy area right behind the brewhouse. As an added bonus, buy a new brewery collar for Fido thanks to the second level gift shop.

Boulder Beer

boulder beer dog friendly patios

Photo courtesy of Boulder Beer

Colorado’s first craft brewery is a place for all to enjoy. The recently remodeled outdoor space at Boulder Beer {2880 Wilderness Place, Boulder; 303.444.8448} is truly for the dogs, with a dedicated dog entrance, plenty of grassy areas, and shaded patio seating so you and your pup can get your cool on.

(Originally posted on DiningOut Magazine)

9 Must-Eat Trucks at Civic Center Eats

Photo courtesy of What Would Cheesus Do?

Food trucks galore—Civic Center EATS is back in action. This summer-long pop-up (running until October 5) gathers the best food trucks in town to Civic Center Park, offering prime eats Tuesdays through Thursdays from 11am-2pm. Mix it up this lunch hour, and check out a few of our favorite food truck picks.

Read more here. 

Señor Bear Opens Today in LoHi

In April, we were lucky to chat with Blake Edmunds, one of Denver’s up and coming chefs on our podcast, Served. Chef Edmunds honed his skills with Denver’s greatest—working with the likes of Alex Seidel before teaming up with Max Mackissock at The Squeaky Bean. Both Mackissock and Edmunds moved to Bar Dough in 2015, joining up with Juan and Katie Padro, the duo behind Tap & Burger Concepts. The foursome have left their mark on the Denver dining scene, consistently turning out fresh concepts, winning approval from local and regional talent alike. We can bet that the teams newest venture, Señor Bear {3307 Tejon Street, Denver} is sure to get a round of accolades all its own.

Señor Bear

Interior of Señor Bear

Señor Bear introduces cuisine from the Southern hemisphere to Denver, highlighting on the flavors of Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. A play on Chef Edmund’s nickname, Whiskey Bear, Señor Bear is sure to breathe new life into the upper corner of the Highlands. The concept is set to open its doors this Friday, June 9—here’s what you can expect:

What to eat

Señor Bear

Ceviche

To prep for the upcoming concept, the team traveled south, cooking with locals and sampling a flurry of cuisines from Mexico and South America. What they brought back was a cuisine influenced by each country, divided into four distinct sections—bocadillos (snacks), mariscos (seafood), vegetales, and carnes.

For starters, you can’t go wrong with the bubbling cast-iron pan of Queso Fundidodotted with pepitas and cilantro, which—for a few extra dollars—you can enhance with Argentinian chorizo verde. Raw seafood reigns supreme at Señor Bear with five solid options ranging with the fresh and seasonal Ceviche accentuated with a pop of roasted lemon dressing and chile puffs to the King Crab crafted with avocado, serrano chiles, pickled shallots, and puffed rice served in a coconut-chile broth. The puffed empanada Pastel de Pato with duck adobado and guasacaca was truly a standout.

Señor Bear

Pastel de Pato

What to drink

Señor Bear

Pisco Sour

Beverage Director Shawn Williams has curated a powerhouse lineup of bartenders at Señor Bear, including local bartending veterans from Williams & Graham and Root Down. Driving home the Latin experience, the bar program touts a healthy dose of Pisco, offering over five different cocktail variations from the classic Pisco Sour to the Rubor with fresh lemon juice and pomegranate. Branching outside of Peruvian cocktails, the bar program offers tequila and mezcal options as well as aged rums, and even aguas frescas of the day straight from local LoHi favorite, Rosa Linda’s.

With a few days left to wait, we can’t for you to say hola to Señor Bear.

Story and Photography by Morgan Carter, Editor

(Story originally published on DiningOut Magazine)