Colfax & Downing

Everything you need to know about the Mile High City

Category: Restaurants (Page 1 of 3)

Sweet Cooie's

Sweet Cooie’s

As soon as I walked in, I loved this place. Sweet Cooie’s in Congress Park is hard not to like. After all, they’re in the sugar business and business is sweet.

Sweet Cooie's

I’m sorry, I realize how cliche that sounds but I’m so amped up on chocolate truffles right now that I can’t help myself. Imagine a 1950s-style sweet shop decorated in the newfound post-war optimism from that era. Add a scoop of Tiffany blue elegance for good measure. That’s Sweet Cooie’s.

Sweet Cooie's

Owner Paul Tamburello of Little Man Ice Cream fame (known for its long outdoor lines, even at the height of winter) dedicated this spot to his mom, affectionately nicknamed ‘Cooie.’ This shines through in every detail of the shop. It’s a new gem in Congress Park. Unlike Tramburello’s other LoHi hot spot, Little Man, you’ll only find the Gooey Cooie here – an ice cream sandwich made with a brioche bun. Glorious.

Sweet Cooie's

Sorbet and sherbet will be making their comeback at Sweet Cooie’s as well as a host of vegan offerings. Yes, please! I picked up a pint of vegan Horchata ice cream for Clare as a Valentine’s treat while I was there and it was a big hit.

Sweet Cooie's

Sweet Cooie’s is a beautiful shop that takes me back to the Mackinac Island trips I took as a kid, Up North in Michigan. In fact, it even smells the same! Now only if they offered Superman ice cream…

I’ll talk with Paul.

Visit Sweet Cooie’s at 3506 E. 12th Ave. (12th and Madison) in Congress Park. They’re open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


For all its population growth and influx of restaurants and eateries popping up on every imaginable corner, Denver just doesn’t keep pace with vegan dining options compared to other major cities. That’s not to say there aren’t a handful of great places to tuck into a vegan meal but it’s not yet the plant-based mecca that I long for it to become.

Enter Sputnik!

This little dive bar with its unassuming facade on Broadway and Ellsworth serves up cheap beer and comfort food for omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans. Adding to its hipster points, right next door is the very popular Hi-Dive, an indie music venue. The service is friendly with no nonsense. Every server or bartender we have ever encountered here has thoroughly mussed hair, tattoos in places that were probably painful, a T-shirt you’re not certain is ironic or not, and a quick hand with the coffee refills.

You can’t really ask for anything more.


One of the last times we had brunch here, Drew enjoyed pork ramen off the lunch menu and I ordered a tofu scramble. Also delicious and available all day: the zucchini dog, the restaurant’s surprisingly satisfying take on a corn dog. Drew is a card-carrying steak and potatoes kind of dude and even he can’t recommend the zucchini dogs vigorously enough.

Coffee in an authentic Taz mug from the 90s? Don’t mind if I do.

Despite its humble appearance, Sputnik delivers. I don’t recommend bringing your parents here but if your much cooler, slightly older cousins from Brooklyn come to the Mile High City to visit, they will be impressed. I speak from experience.

From 3 to 7 p.m., the happy hour menu features a variety of beers and small bites ranging from $2 to $6.

To summarize: affordable, tasty food! Cold, cheap beer! Vegan friendly! Warm service! Vinyl booths! Christmas lights!

Sputnik is everywhere you might expect to find a Denver establishment on social media (except Twitter, apparently).

In other news, we’re sorry for neglecting the blog. Sometimes life happens more quickly than we can jot it down. Because you continue to read and stick by us, know that we love you more than is comfortable for you.

Colfax and Downing Bye For Now

Postino Denver LoHi

Postino LoHi

In a town drowning in beer offerings, Postino sticks out as the Denver wine bar.

The bright, mid-century modern restaurant was the first to open in the renovated Denver Book Bindery building. With stunning views of downtown Denver that rival neighbor Avanti Food & Beverage, Postino features bruschetta, panini, salad, and other small, shareable bites.

Postino LoHi BooksWalking into Postino on Friday night with our friends Maggie and Kevin, I realized I was entering into a mix between a hip new book bar (a nod to the building’s past), a liquor store (wine is seriously everywhere), and a trippy Chihuly fanboys wet dream.

Nothing inside Postino screams, I am Italian. Arrivederci!

However, there is a certain steadfast confidence in the minimal menu options that remind me of a few Italians I met while traveling. It’s a statement of, “This is who I am. Take it or leave it,” and I respect that.

Postino Denver Butcher Block

Our group started with the Butcher Block. A mix of of dried meats, cheeses, olives, nuts, and pickles. It’s an impressive platter that I’d recommend sharing with three others. The peppered salami was the standout for me.

Postino LoHi Autostrada

After such a great start, I followed up with the Autostrada. A panini combination of sopresatta, Italian ham, cappicola, mortadella, and other fun Italian words. The star of the show by far was the bread, baked daily by the folks at City Bakery.

Something not to overlook if you go are the deals to be had at Postino. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, you can get $5 glasses of wine and $5 pitchers of any beer (that’s right….ANY beer that they have). Every Monday and Tuesday night, you can order four kinds of bruschetta and a bottle of wine for $20. Not. Bad.

Be sure to keep up with Postino on:

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Handy Diner

Handy Diner’s owner, Teri Font, endeared herself to me the very moment I read the following sound bite in BusinessDen:

When my mom found out I bought a diner, she called me and drove out immediately (from Iowa) to see what I was doing. I think she thought I was having a manic episode or something. But once she saw the place, she got it.

That level of candid self deprecation mixed with a brand new diner in Five Points that features vegan fare exclusively? I’m sold.

Handy Diner Building

Formerly known to the neighborhood as the D-Line restaurant, the space is very small and unassuming. Because the diner atmosphere is so understated, the focus here is on the food alone. A shy server brought us waters, coffees and menus. Drew ordered a burger and I had the country fried chickpea steak with glazed yams. My order was inspired by the multiple Facebook reviews raving about it and I was not led astray. Drew’s review of his plate: no nonsense, a classic burger with no frills. His favorite part: the mashed potatoes. I’m still dreaming about it and words won’t do justice to the savory nature of that breakfast.
Handy Diner Burger

Rarely do I delve into why I was a vegetarian for more than a decade nor the reasons I transitioned to a fully vegan lifestyle last fall. Generally speaking, meat and dairy eaters find those kinds of monologue to be a judgmental buzzkill and this blog is meant to celebrate all things Denver. What I will say is that it’s next to never that:

  1. I can order any and everything off the menu
  2. Dine at a restaurant and not feel like an asshole when I have to ask for exceptions
  3. A vegan menu is so inventive and soul-nourishing good.

For these reasons, Handy Diner is a breath of fresh air.
Handy Diner YamsNo animals harmed! If you have a single iota of interest in vegan food, ride the Light Rail to the 30th and Downing stop and walk across the street. No meal exceeds $10 and everything is stick-to-your-ribs hearty. You will not be disappointed.

We’re wishing Teri and her crew all the success in the world.

Colfax and Downing Bye For Now

Winter Warmer 2016

The 2016 Winter Warmer

Winter is tough.

Shoveling snow. Bundling up. Waiting out in the cold for the BX that’s always late…

Luckily for all of us, the Winter Warmer is here to help by offering 2-for-1 drink specials at 20 or so of the hottest restaurants in Denver. This was the gift I was most delighted to receive this Christmas. (Thanks, Ariana.)

Winter Warmer Denver 2016

This year, the Winter Warmer hits Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins in full force. Similar to the Passport Program, the Winter Warmer is designed for exploration and giving customers a reason to visit new and upcoming restaurants they might not have thought about before. Think of the Winter Warmer as your fun enabler friend who doesn’t know quite when to quit… it’s kind of like that…but you’ll save money and give back to a worthy cause throughout the process.

For every Winter Warmer sold, The Passport Program will donate $1 to Food Bank of the Rockies.  With each dollar providing four meals to hungry Coloradans, Winter Warmer donations could provide up to 22,000 meals across the state.

The 2016 Winter Warmer is on sale now for $20. Last year, it sold out in 48 hours so you should probably get on this.

Restaurants participating

Winter Warmer Bar List 2016

I’m really looking forward to a trip to Bar Fausto and Rebel Restaurant. What about you?

In the new year, Clare and I are sticking with our 2015 habit of cooking at home more often than we dine out at restaurants. The Winter Warmer scratches my restaurant itch for the price of an award-winning cocktail. The other night I made some of the softest sandwiches ever: fresh French bread with cannellini beans, cucumber and a perfectly ripe avocado. I ate mine condiment-less and Clare doused hers in Follow Your Heart vegan Ranch dressing.

Vegan White Bean and Avocado Sandwich

Cook at home and drink on the town! Be sure to tag your photos, tweets and everything else with #WinterWarmer along your travels and who knows, maybe I’ll see you out there.

Stay warm, my friends.

This post was shared in collaboration with our homies at Tony’s, source of all the delicious ingredients in this post. We’re lucky to be included in their blogger ambassador program.

Colfax and Downing Bye For Now

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