Editors' Picks

Biker Jim Pittenger's Favorite Denver Eats

The local legend behind Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs and Pop's Place spreads the love he receives for his own food all around town — from a barbecue vendor on the patio of a RiNo cocktail haunt to an old-school Ethiopian joint to an Asian fusion temple. 

ChoLon

AsianLoDo
LoDo is "lucky to have" chef Lon Symensma, whose "talent is on display" in every "exquisite" Southeast Asian morsel (including "brilliant" French onion soup dumplings) that this "sleek" spot sends out of its open kitchen; fetched by "knowledgeable, efficient" servers and accompanied by "standout" cocktails, the "artistic", "adventurous" small plates are "made to share" – and you may as well, since the "throbbing" noise level promotes getting close, while the prices, being "a little steep", favor bill-splitting.

Jim's notes: "I know, it’s on everyone’s list. I just love how pretty and how correct everything is. Maybe some dishes aren’t exactly what I would typically want, but I don’t think they could be made better anywhere else."

Domo Japanese Country Food Restaurant

JapaneseLincoln Park
"Rustic farmhouse decor" – think "tree-trunk tables" and "tree-stump seats" – sets the stage for "delicious", "authentic Japanese country cuisine" that's definitely "not typical sushi" at this "Denver classic" in Lincoln Park; though the surroundings outshine the service, prices are "fair" and the whole package delivers a "cultural escape from the ordinary", especially if you visit the on-site museum and "sit in the garden on a nice evening."

Jim's notes: "I used to take aikido from [chef-owner] Gaku Homma. When he first opened Domo, it was all staffed by aikido students — so you did not give your server sh*t. His take on sushi is one of my favorites ever, not only because the flavors are unique but because the food is plentiful. It isn’t one of those sushi places where you get eight bites and leave hungry. I’m always happy and satisfied after I eat at Domo."

El Taco De Mexico

MexicanArt District on Santa Fe
"When you need real Mexican" food, hit up this "trailer"-sized Lincoln Park taqueria for burritos "beyond belief" (topped with "amazing" green chili) and "delicious" tacos at "terrific prices"; the "place hasn't changed in years", the service is still "no-nonsense" and there's still no alcohol – but for regulars there's "no doubt" it's among the "best" in town.

Jim's notes: "Always been my favorite burrito joint. The workers are surly, the atmosphere is sparse and the food is complex and mostly transcendent."

Finn's Manor

River North Art District
An elevated cocktail syllabus draws sophisticated drinkers to this RiNo bar offering more than 400 spirits, a formidable beer list and nonalcoholic juices and teas. The intimate, dimly lit interior has a New Orleans vibe, and the spacious outdoor patio features communal seating and an array of food trucks doling out everything from bao buns to barbecue.

Jim's notes: "Owlbear BBQ is a little food truck in the back of Finn’s Manor that produces the most tender, tasty and ridiculously good brisket on a paper plate."

Queen of Sheba Restaurant

EthiopianPark Hill
While the setting is "modest", "amazing", "authentic" Ethiopian fare awaits at this "superior" "family"-run storefront in Aurora, where the "sweet", "beyond-talented" chef-owner oversees a "friendly" staff, and prices are easy on the wallet too.

Jim's notes: "My wife and I have been going to see [chef-owner] Zodi Aboye for 20 years; we’ve known her since her hair was black and mine was brown. You never want to be in a hurry when you go there, but you always want to be hungry — her food is scintillating. When I think of Ethiopian food, I think of Zodi."

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