Developer Ken Wolf jokes that he built The Central Market because he needed a place to hang some fancy lamps he’d purchased, but rest assured the result is no mere lighting showroom. Rather, Wolf and chef Jeff Osaka have conceived a 12,000-sq.-ft. culinary emporium that’s set to change the way Denver does groceries. With 10 specialty vendors selling provisions and prepared foods alike — and a bar where you can imbibe as you browse and nibble — this is no mere one-stop shop. Starting Sunday, it’s your new home away from home. Here’s what you should know before you practically move in.
Il Posto's Andrea Frizzi makes pizza with as much gusto as he does pasta.
From his ceramic-tiled, wood-burning oven behind the counter of Vero, the Milanese-born chef-restaurateur (pictured right) is turning out fabulous pies. (Try the Pomodoro Fresco with arugula pesto and zucchini or the Massimeno with stracchino, smoked mozzarella and speck.) The fresh pastas have also made Il Posto a local staple, with dishes like bucatini with pancetta, egg yolk and bread crumbs and ragout-stuffed tortelli in sage brown butter.
A little Old Major, a little Masterpiece Deli, plus a little more: that’s Culture Meat and Cheese.
This is a Justin Brunson joint, so you know the salumi’s on point whether served on a board, in a paper cone or packaged. In addition to curing their own meats, he and partner Amos Watts are sourcing boutique brands you won’t find anywhere else in town — including some hard to find cheeses. You also know the seasonal sandwiches, six in all, rock from breakfast onward. The grilled cheese in particular will take you by surprise with its combination of Gouda, crescenza, cheddar and cultured butter.
Silva’s Fish Market doubles as a raw bar.
Indie seafood counters come few and far between in this city, so Osaka (Osaka Ramen, Sushi-Rama) and Jesus Silva (ex Sushi Sasa) are filling a real void with their dozen or so carefully sourced fin fish — including local trout and striped bass. There's also octopus, king crab, mussels and more (display case pictured top), plus oysters on the half shell, ceviche and other treats to devour on the spot.
And that’s just the beginning, meat-wise.
See that side of beef on the left? From locally raised whole animals, The Local Butcher cuts dry-aged steaks, heirloom pork chops and more to join the ranks of dressed chickens, rotating housemade sausages and, eventually, goose and venison. Signature Italian beef and meatball sandwiches will be supplemented by daily specials. And then there’s SK Provisions, a rotisserie counter where Sean Kelly (Desmond Bar and Grill) and his team are turning out porchetta, roast chicken, burgers and an ever-changing array of fish dishes, salads and sides.
But what's a market without produce?
Enter Green Seed, which not only sells fruits and veggies, but also whips them up into bowls and juices. This is the vitamin boost you need to continue your adventure.
For that matter, what’s a market without a full bar?
Less fun, that’s for sure. Grab a cocktail, pint of beer or glass of wine at Curio to take with you as you explore — then grab another (perhaps the daily punch?) to pair with your purchases while perched at the long communal tables at the heart of the space.
There’s more to Izzio Artisan Bakery than breads and pastries.
With head baker Maurizio Negrini, the U Baron Group has built an empire of eateries on the boules, buns and baguettes that come out of its wholesale production facility. But this retail satellite is serving up several luscious creations all its own. Going clockwise from the top, they include an addictive egg-challah scramble, Israeli-style hummus, bright-earthy carrot-tahini dip and labneh toast with herb salad. There's also a killer kouign amann sandwich stuffed with ice cream from High Point Creamery across the aisle. And speaking of...
Yes, High Point Creamery does flights — and then some.
As at the flagship location, you can mix-and-match small-batch flavors until your heart’s content with a sauce-garnished, five-scoop board. But only here are owners Erika Thomas and Chad Stutz adding soda-fountain classics, including old-school egg creams, to the mix.
You can also satisfy your sweet tooth with gourmet chocolates.
If you’ve been to Bistro Barbès, you know the attention to detail chef-owner Jon Robbins brings to his cooking. So it should come as no surprise that Temper’s array of confections are as jewel box–worthy as they are intensely dark and rich.
Not just a cute name, Crema Bodega is an actual bodega.
By journey's end, a little jolt of java is probably in order. But in addition to the expertly pulled cups for which its down-the-street sibling Crema Coffee House is so beloved, this outlet is also selling bagged beans and various sundries to boot.