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The Maine Shake serves New England fare

Highly anticipated restaurant Maine Shack will open on Tuesday, July 30, at 1535 Central Street. The team opening the lobster roll eater includes Max Mackissock, Katie O’Shea, and Juan Padro of Culinary Creative Group (Morin, Señor Bear and Bar Dough) with partners Drew Ryan and John Caprio, as well as chef Craig Dixon.

The Maine Shack has appeared at a few pop-ups last year, in anticipation of the opening. If the menus from these events are the same at the forthcoming restaurants, then diners will get to pick from lobster rolls with mayo or butter, fried clams, New England roast beef, lobster mac and cheese, clam chowder, and more.

The new fast-casual restaurant is located in the former Uber Eats building on Central Street.

Maine Shack will host a media preview this week, so stay tuned for more information on the menu, the space, and perhaps a few photos of the dining room and food.

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Instagram/Uncle

The popular restaurant opened its second location this week 

Uncle Ramen is growing up. After seven years in the Highlands, it expanded with a second location, which opened Tuesday in the West Washington Park neighborhood. “Uncle 2” still serves up some of the familiar fare found in the Highlands, but the new location’s bigger kitchen means the menu here includes 60 percent more dishes.

Self-trained restauranteur Tommy Lee, who is also behind Hop Alley, never anticipated his ramen creations would skyrocket to popularity as they have. Even so, he wants to offer more than ramen on the menu.

“Ramen is seasonal, you know — it’s hot soup,” he said. “People know us for ramen but they also know us for being unexpected.”

Unexpected on the menu is Uncle’s new selection of curries. The curries, both green and red, are all fixed with a house-made curry paste and make up the menu’s heirloom California rice section. Uncle’s curry is gluten free and spice level can be adjusted to preference.

Crowd favorites like the spicy chicken ramen, made with a sesame broth, and pork belly buns remain on the menu. (Fun Fact: 50 cents from each pork bun order goes to a rotating charity selected by staff.) In keeping with its doubled size, the Wash Park kitchen is whipping up three different meat-based broths for its new bowls, like the Tokyo shoyu made with a light chicken and fish broth, pork belly, arugula, scallion, and ajitama egg. Lee worked on this recipe for eight months to perfect, in his words, its simplicity. Mazemen, a broth-less ramen dish, also features on the menu.

Don’t let the attention to ramen throw you off: Uncle is doing more than just the rich Japanese noodle bowls it’s known for. Highlights unique to the West Wash Park location include the Charred Shrimp Cocktail prepared with a seven pepper marinade and served with sweet chile sauce and the Southern Fried Mushroom, a splendid burst of flavor from the pairing of delicate maitake and buttermilk batter with house-made hot sauce on the side.

“When I opened [Uncle 1] seven years ago, I had no idea it would be as busy as it is,” Lee reflected. The goal of the new space, he shared, is to please more people and offer fans a year-round experience.

The team has drummed up an intricate beverage program. “Here we have an actual bar,” Lee explained. “We can shake a drink if it needs to be shaken. We can stir something if it needs to be stirred.” Lee describes the cocktails they serve as balanced and not overly ambitious. The menu also includes an extensive selection of beer, wine and sake.

Uncle is located amidst a growing culinary scene in West Wash Park on South Pennsylvania Street. The corner restaurant seats 80 and its bright windows provide a great view of the quiet yet bustling neighborhood. Uncle is open Monday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

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Plus other food and beverage news

Expansions

Chop Shop Casual Urban Eatery now has a third location at 3150 South Broadway, Englewood. Guests of Chop Shop Lowry will find the same homey yet thoughtful menu from the original location, but there will also be some twists. Some of the most popular dishes at the original Chop Shop include the 48 hour slow cooked short rib, the lemon adobo grilled chicken breast, and the 72 hour slow cooked onion bliss soup.

New culinary director

Boulder chef Kyle Mendenhall takes on the role of culinary director at Big Red F Restaurant Group, which includes Zolo Grill, Centro Mexican Kitchen, and West End Tavern. Zolo classics like the banana cream pie and chicken enchiladas aren’t will stay. “We have this restaurant that’s been a pillar of the Boulder community for 25 years, so we’re very carefully propelling Zolo forward with a lot of respect to the past,” says Mendenhall.

More pizza

Chef Paul C. Reilly and restaurateurs Aileen Reilly and JP Taylor, Jr. partners (Beast+Bottle, Coperta, and Pizzeria Coperta) will have a new pizzeria this fall at Stanley Marketplace in the former Sazza space. According to the press release, “The family-friendly space will offer a counter service dining experience with dine-in, take-out, and curbside pick-up options. Paul and the kitchen team‘s menu will include pasta, Roman-style pizza, salads, panini, and antipasti.” The pizzeria does not have a name yet.

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A neighborhood legend locks the doors

Even though new owners took over south Denver legend the Campus Lounge last September, they are already calling it quits. The bar’s website announced the shutter with “Campus Lounge has closed for business. We appreciate your support along the way.”

Eater Denver explained the most recent takeover in 2018:

A Colorado father-and-son team, Dan and Jeff Nickless, will reopen iconic Bonnie Brae neighborhood standby the Campus Lounge sometime in October. The Nicklesses hope to bring the bar back to what it once was, with the addition of new TVs screening sporting events, and a menu that includes green chile and burgers, the Denver Channel reports. Jim Wiste, who died early this year, owned the Campus Lounge for more than 40 years, and Dan Landes revamped it in 2017, but kept the bar open for only five months. The Nickless family previously owned the Esquire Market, which supplied meat for the Campus Lounge. They were frequent visitors at the old watering hole.

The Campus Lounge Is Back (Again) in Bonnie Brae [EDEN]

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Who wants waffles?

Arvada-based restaurant Morning Story is now open in Denver. Located at 560 South Holly Street, the new breakfast-heavy establishment comes from restaurateur Jim Gregory.

The first Morning Story opened in Arvada, Colorado, in 2018.

The extensive menu of almost 70 items includes green chili chicken hash, eggs, carnitas enchilada, eggs, crispy potatoes, eggs, croissant breakfast cake, eggs, peanut butter banana waffle, eggs, oatmeal pancakes, eggs, and more.

The Morning Story in Arvada was voted “Best Breakfast and Brunch” by the readers of the Arvada Press and Westminster Window in 2019. According to the press release, “Morning Story is committed to being the Very Best Breakfast Restaurant in the regions where they are located; Arvada and Denver, Colorado.”

Morning Story is open daily from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Have you been to the Arvada location of Morning Story? Let us know your thoughts on the breakfast restaurant in the comments.

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Boulder’s first tiki bar opened yesterday

Go on vacation in downtown Boulder. Jungle opened its doors in the former PMG space where the tiki cocktails and island wines flow. Alongside Caribbean inspired snacks and small plates, Jungle offers guests a full island living experience. The new concept comes from the team behind nearby restaurant Arcana.

Jungle is meant to be fun with a slice of history. The cocktail menu highlights the diverse roots of rum — each drink harking back to a place and its relevant spirit.

Take High off the Indo, for example, a drink that features Indonesian rum with banana, coconut cream, fenugreek and Thai peppercorn. The menu explains: “In 500 B.C. the people of Indonesia invented the first ‘rum.’ This means people have been having tiki parties for over 2,000 years.”

According to beverage director Jake Novotny, tiki is making a comeback.

“It’s an immersive escape that’s exotic and nostalgic all at the same time,” Novotny told Eater. “I think we can all agree that a two hour vacation is needed once in a while.”

Overall, Novotny’s menu comprises a mix of tropical flavors — sweet, sour, fruity and savory. Guests can expect an inventive, eclectic selection with offerings such as The Belefonte (Blanc Armagnac, pear, William, Puerto Rican and Jamaican rum, ginger, cinnamon, and sparkling pear cider) or Rock Out with Your Conch Out (Aqua Amburana cachaça, Bolivian brandy, pineapple, cashew, lime, and XO chocolate bitters).

Heading up the “island wine list” at Jungle is Arcana’s advanced sommelier Michael Elmore. Wines span the globe from Santorini, Tasmania, New Zealand, and more.

Food options are also unique. Go to Jungle if you’re craving tropical noshes like a luau pork sandwich (on brioche with root veggie slaw and oregano chimichurri), a Jamaican beef patty (curried beef served with scotch bonnet and green sour cream) or coconut rice (accompanied by grilled vegetables, red beans and green mango vinaigrette).

From the bright lounge with plants galore to the large umbrellas on the patio, and sliding floor-to-ceiling windows in between, there is a place here for vacationers of all types to kick back with a beverage.

Jungle is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 3p.m. to 11p.m. at 2018 10th St, Boulder, CO.

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Opening soon

Restaurateurs Bradford Heap and Carole Vilate are changing up seafood restaurant Wild Standard to open their latest venture Pepper the Noshery. The owners want the restaurant to “do more than serve humane and sustainably sourced food,” so they are using the practices learned from running Wild Standard these past few years.

“In hoping to do our part to protect the over-harvesting of our seas,” say Heap, “we made the decision to do something different. Pepper’s menu will include a small seafood selection while sticking to our integrity of serving vegetable forward dishes made with organic, GMO-free ingredients.”

Pepper will open on July 18, at 1043 Pearl Street in Boulder.

The menu from Roy Benningfield will range from Italian to Thai. Menu examples include mussels with a choice of tomato or Thai coconut curry broth, Buffalo cauliflower bites, a “Taste of Spring,” miso cod, and more.

Pepper will open open daily for dinner with happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m.

Pepper the Noshery [Official]

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The latest subterranean wine cellar in LoDo

Sotto Voce is the new speakeasy on the block, and, as its Prohibition-era genre suggests, it has several features under wraps.

In a flurry of Italian restaurant openings in LoDo last fall, Jovanina’s Broken Italian has set itself apart with this basement wine cellar, which warrants a closer look:

Jovanina’s Broken Italian

1. Carted Craft Cocktails & Absinthe Program

Imbibers at Sotto Voce can expect not just a good libation but a quality service experience. The cocktails in the dimly lit cellar are served tableside from a roving cart bar.

“It’s very much the show,” explained “Director of Vibe” Howard Dickey. “They don’t call me champagne Howie for nothing!”

Offerings include a signature Aperol Spritz along with a classic Corpse Reviver #2 or Barred-Aged Sazerac fixed with an absinthe wash — part of the elaborate absinthe program found here.

Wines on tap and beer on draft, canned or bottled are also available in addition to an extensive wine list. It is a wine cellar after all.

Jovanina’s Broken Italian

2. Hushed Atmosphere

“It just screams the most romantic restaurant in Denver,” Dickey said of Jovanina’s.

The romance he’s referring to might be found in the space’s many found objects. Guests descend into the cellar by a stairway dripped with candle wax. Corners and walls of mirrors and absinthe fountains are illuminated by candelabras.

Once downstairs, the name makes sense— “sotto voce” is Italian for “in a quiet voice,” and the space inspires intimate, hushed conversations.

Jovanina’s Broken Italian Prohibition Tunnel

3. Historical Touches

The basement, built in 1880 and originally used for tobacco storage, once connected to downtown Denver’s subterranean tunnel network. The tunnels were used during Prohibition and, though they are now bricked up, husband and wife co-owners Jake and Jennifer Linzinmeir managed to restore a portion of the tunnel to create semi-private dining nook for two in Sotto Voce.

Jovanina’s Broken Italian

4. Full Dinner Service

The full dinner menu is available at Sotto Voce. Menus change with the seasons, but diners can count on offerings from the wood oven, mainstays like pasta and pizza, colorful entrees served in beautiful ceramics, and something with bone marrow.

Jovanina’s Broken Italian

5. A Power Tower at Happy Hour

Yes, guests can receive Happy Hour offerings downstairs until 6 p.m. Guests can enjoy a selection of oysters, chilled or roasted, a selection of $5 snack plates, or — the pièce de résistance — the Tower of Power. Served on a tiered tray, the tower consists of pizza on the base level, a $5 snack plate at the mid level, and a carafe of wine on top, capping out at $35.

Sotto Voce at Jovanina’s Broken Italian is open Thursday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to close.

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Opening tomorrow

Little Man Ice Cream will open its 6,000-square-foot ice cream factory and tasting room on Saturday, July 6. The new Willy Wonka-esque addition sits at 4411 West Colfax Avenue in the West Colfax neighborhood of Denver.

Guests enter the factory through a walk-in freezer and pop into a space designed to replicate an industrial ice cream churn. Most features are round or cylindrical to keep that churning theme going.

Visitors take a look at the toy-block menu board to decide between scoops, pints, ice cream sandwiches, sundaes, and malts. Orders are placed at the counter where toppings are presented in a laboratory fashion.

Little Man Ice Cream will open Tuesday through Thursday, from noon to 10 p.m.; Friday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Take a look around the shop here with Eater photographer Jonathan Phillips.

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Avoiding traffic to the mountains?

Fourth of July is a holiday defined by food: hot dogs, burgers, and corn on the cob. For Denverites looking to stay in the city this Thursday, these fourteen bars and restaurants are prepared to take over summer chef duties.

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