Neighborhoods: Baker, Cherry Creek North, City Park, East Colfax, Lowry, Uptown
Ace in Uptown
This place was designed by parents Jen and Josh Wolkon, therefore, you can rely on entertainment, well-portioned and thoughtful ideas for children, and best of all, it’s a bit loud and low key, which screams, BRING THE KIDS! There are 11 ping pong tables for anyone to play while your food is being prepared. We dove right in and ordered from the Mini Aces Menu. Hank and Dora went for the short rib bao bun with sticky rice, edamame and fruit. Addy and I went for the Burmese fried rice, a great vegetarian option with tofu and egg, loaded with protein. There wasn’t a bite to take home. The kids had polished off their meals in time for one more round of Ping-Pong and me, an Asian lager. Ace is located in Denver’s Uptown Neighborhood. (aceeatserve.com)
Punch Bowl Social in Baker and opening soon in Stapleton
I actually hosted my daughter’s 4th birthday party at the Broadway location. It was darling. There was bowling, karaoke, arcade and pinball games and skee ball, more for the dads, darts too, photo booth, cotton candy machine, you get the idea, there’s kid entertainment everywhere. I had ordered off the kids menu for a brunch bar, and the party was awesome.
We were thrilled to be invited back to try their new kid’s menu. We opted for the Banana Almond Butter Sandwich, the Black Eyed Pea Hummus and the Chocolate Chip Malted Waffle. Again, there wasn’t a bite that wasn’t spoken for. These creative twists on familiar childhood favorites, are not only popular for the next generation, they’re sweet and savory and perfect for adults who always take from their child’s plate.
Olive and Finch in City Park and Cherry Creek
Olive & Finch on East 17th Ave. in the City Park neighborhood has always been a go-to for the kids and I. It’s a pretty small space, and it’s packed with so much goodness. I was such a good customer, the darling Chef/Owner Mary Nguyen even saw me while I was picking up Dora’s favorite food while she was in the hospital, and rewarded the little asthmatic some of her incredible desserts. Mary is unbelievable and has two young girls of her own.
Olive & Finch has now opened up a second location in Cherry Creek on First Ave. The newest all-day eatery and bakery has scratch-kitchen offerings that are as precious as the décor and ambiance of the restaurants. Kids get their very own menu where everything is an affordable five dollars and includes breakfast choices such as the healthful Cuten, Olive & Finch’s lemon poppy seed quinoa pancake served with bacon and fruit, and the lunch or dinner-time Ava’s Bear, a full grilled mozzarella and cheddar cheese sandwich on house-made brioche with kettle chips and a side of fruit. Kids and adults have a variety of fresh-pressed juices from the juice bar to choose from. Plus, there are espresso drinks and Vietnamese coffee, and if needed or time appropriate, a glass of wine or craft cocktail. (oliveandfincheatery.com)
Chop Shop on East Colfax and in Lowry
I’ve been a huge fan of the East Colfax eatery since it was opened by parents a couple years back, and was overjoyed when I saw the coming soon sign in Lowry. This hipster, locally-sourced whenever possible joint has it all, from nice pieces of meat and fish to a good burger and mac and cheese—I even took out here for my
birthday last October, since my husband and kids couldn’t be pulled away from the World Series Cubs that evening. Here’s why this is a go-to for our family and when we have visitors in town. It’s got the city vibe, open air seating on a patio that is used nearly year-round, beer, wine, coffee and a great menu.
My little ones usually get one of two things. Dora has her go-to mac and cheese, but will happily change it up with the crispy fried tofu and mashed potatoes that comes with fruit. There’s a nice size grilled chicken and grilled steak on the kids menu as well and desserts to tempt anyone. Some of my favorites, the smoked chicken pastrami and Asian Chop with tofu.
This place has character and it’s exciting to see their expansion. While not large in space, it’s enormous in thought and good food. (coloradochopshop.com)
Cherry Creek Food Notes for Families . . .
Departure Restaurant + Lounge
Ready to splurge and indulge in Cherry Creek’s newest hotel and eatery? Departure Restaurant + Lounge invites friends, families, and foodies from all over Denver to experience the restaurant’s new “Family Meal” dinner menu available Sunday through Tuesday nights from 5 to 10 pm. Families of three or more can enjoy a multi-course, family-style dinner created by Culinary Director Gregory Gourdet for $45 per person. The menu, which will change slightly each week, features a selection of Gourdet’s modern Asian dishes and desserts created by Pastry Sous Chef Erin Koroll. Departure’s Family Meal Sample Menu might include power greens, spicy tuna roll, Departure wings, skirt steak skewer, chili prawns, garlic fried rice, coconut custard and dark chocolate bar. The menu is sophisticated, scrumptious and what kid doesn’t go crazy for fried rice or savory proteins.
It’s still as popular as the last time I wrote about it (http://www.milehighmamas.com/blog/2010/03/17/kids-in-the-city-pajama-brunch-at-second-home-enter-to-win/). The Pajama Brunch Menu at Second Home in Cherry Creek’s JW Marriott reigns supreme on Sundays. Kids love the separate craft and movie room and adults love the cocktails (including a DIY Bloody Mary station and bottomless Mimosas) and delicious food, including the HUGE Chicken & Waffles, Challah French Toast and a Breakfast Pizza. All kids age 8 and under who wear their PJs can eat for FREE from the Kids Brunch Menu, including the Pancake Bar with fun toppings like M&Ms, gummy bears and fresh fruit. (secondhomedenver.com/cherry-creek-restaurant-menu/brunch-menu/)
Other Favorites from Local Families . . .
I posted on our family school’s Facebook page, and here are some other recommendations from Steck Families.
- Old Chicago is a great value for kids, and a favorite of our three. We also love Bad Daddy’s–also a great value. Both of those places either include the drink with the kids’ meal or charge minimally for it. We have been several places that have great meals and choices for kids, but then they charge $3 for a glass of milk of a kids’ Sprite! — Alison Caulfield Kenda
- Kona grill has the best kids meal I’ve seen. — Jonny Klinowski
BUT I DON’T WANNA LEAVE THE HOUSE . . .
No problem. We got you covered. Sometimes takeout, delivery, specialty services and the genius behind instacart are better than going out to dinner.
What are some hot new trends . . .
Cappello’s recently delivered an impressive package that I had to sneak into even before the kids came home from school. If anyone in the family is gluten-free, grain-free, or in search of paleo-friendly items, this Colorado-based gourmet food company can deliver to your door. Options include frozen, ready-bake pasta, pizza, and cookie dough. The brand can be found throughout most grocery stores such as King Soopers, Whole foods, Natural Grocers and many more, the best part is, you can order online and they deliver in dry ice to ensure items are kept frozen.
I gobbled down their cheese pizza, and was ready to try even more flavors such as sheep’s milk cheese pizza and their naked pizza crust to make my own invention. The pastas were a huge hit, and no one felt bloated the next day, oh I see why those preach the words of the paleo-diet. We went for the gnocchi, and there is also fettuccine and lasagna sheets. There are four flavors of cookie dough, but we have yet to indulge. We’re most excited to try the chocolate chip. http://www.cappellos.com
The Gluten Escape®
Busy families who need gluten-free, dairy-free and food-allergy friendly options will love The Gluten Escape® in Centennial. The unique bakery is a dedicated gluten, dairy, soy protein and peanut free facility with 85% of products also being egg free. Owner Kathy Letson has developed a custom flour blend that is available for easy pick up at the bakery so families can bake at home. Kathy says successful gluten-free baking is all about the texture and she avoids using gritty white rice flour that has no nutritional value. Instead, her team blends 6 different flours that serve as a cup-for-cup substitute in any recipe and allows home bakers to control the texture with simple xantham gum additions. For an added treat, try Kathy’s chocolate cake recipe on the bag.
Other takeout options include award-winning pans of brownies, a variety of cupcakes, cookies, birthday cakes, cinnamon rolls, pizza dough balls, bread loaves and rolls. Grab and go options include bagel sandwiches, sandwiches, small pizzas and snack boxes. Call 303-694-9999 to pre-order your items and they’ll be ready for pick up within 48 hours or you can arrange delivery to your home with Judy at Always on Time Courier Service. (TheGlutenEscape.com)