(Editors’ note: You might also like our guide to eating on Federal Boulevard.)
Colfax Avenue, otherwise known as the Gateway to the Rockies, serves as the main thoroughfare through a diverse group of Denver neighborhoods, so naturally it’s home to a wide variety of cuisines.
In my semi-exhaustive search of the east end of the street alone, I found more than 60 non-chain restaurants serving 18 different types of food (though classifying them in an imprecise task). From Capitol Hill out to the East Colfax neighborhood, you’ll find Mediterranean food, Japanese food, Colombian food, Salvadoran food, British food, Polish food and a lot more, including probably more Ethiopian food than anywhere else in Denver.
Needless to say, it takes some time to find the best spots.
So, once again, I asked the locals — from city council representatives to neighborhood associations to the Denver native next door to Denverite readers who just replied to our newsletters with their input! Here’s what they had to say.
Name: Vicki Taniwaki
Time in Denver: A Denver native and a South City Park resident for 33 years.
Favorite East Colfax restaurant: “I have been to a lot of great Colfax eateries, including Annie’s, Pete’s, S.A.M.E. Café, Cheeky Monk, Tom’s Diner, Pho-natic, Tacos y Salsas. However, these are places that serve fare easily found anywhere in Denver — and in most cases, done better. One exception is The Ethiopian Restaurant at 2816 E. Colfax.”
Favorite dish there: “Typical of Colfax eateries, there is nothing fancy about it — no internet connection, no microbrews, not even a wait staff — but their special ribs and spicy lentils are the best in all of Denver.”
Name: Albus Brooks
Neighborhood affiliation: President of Denver City Council, Representative of Denver’s “Fine District 9”
Time in Denver: 16 years, Cole resident
Favorite East Colfax restaurant: “Pete’s Kitchen on Colfax and Race. I love going to Pete’s for breakfast on the weekends. This place is amazing because it is representative of the history and grittiness of East Colfax.”
Favorite dish there: “I love the classic scrambled eggs, hash-browns and sausage with a glass of OJ.”
Name: Caroline Schomp
Neighborhood affiliation: Board member and past president of Capitol Hill United Neighbors.
Time in Denver: “I’m a Denver native and have lived in Capitol Hill proper and now in East Cheesman Park (currently for 35 years but totaling 60 +/-).”
Favorite East Colfax restaurant: “CHUN has had wonderful support from many East Colfax restaurants. Hard to pick just one. Most recently I’ve been to Chow Urban Grill … They’ve got a great patio that fronts on Colfax. It’s a wonderful place.”
Favorite dish there: “Love their curried cauliflower, but the brussels sprouts are close, along with shepherd’s pie. The cauliflower is a different preparation than I’ve seen, with raisins and pine nuts. It’s just a riot of flavors.”
Name: Chris Herndon
Neighborhood affiliation: Denver City Councilman, District 8
Time in Denver: Nine years in Stapleton.
Favorite East Colfax restaurant and favorite dishes: “I enjoy a good burger at The Elm and a really good beer at Fiction Beer Company.”
Name: Jeannene Bragg
Time in Denver: “I live in Park Hill; been there three years … Although I’ve only lived there three years, it’s the home my husband grew up in, so the family has been there more than 40.”
Favorite East Colfax restaurant: Abyssinian Ethiopian Restaurant.
Favorite dish there: “We usually get a meat combo and a vegetarian combo so we get some of everything.”
Name: Mary Beth Susman
Neighborhood affiliation: Councilwoman, City Council District 5
Time in Denver: Lived in Denver for 47 years — Hilltop neighborhood for 43 years, Congress Park for two years, West Washington Park for two years.
Favorite East Colfax restaurant: Phoenician Kabob, 5709 E. Colfax Ave. “Best, freshest Mediterranean food.” 7 Leguas, 4550 E. Colfax Ave.
Favorite dish there: Beef kabob entree at Phoenician Kabob. Chano’s plate at 7 Leguas.
Name: Cassie Schoon
Time in Denver: Almost 12 years.
Favorite East Colfax restaurant: Tacomex, 7840 E. Colfax Ave.
Favorite dish there: “I adore the Tacos Al Pastor at Tacomex. They make you go outside to the tent for the al pastor, linguica and chorizo tacos. So delicious.”
Name: Brittany Zuber
Neighborhood affiliation: President, East Montclair/East Colfax Neighborhood Association
Time in Denver: Eight years, in Lowry Field and East Colfax
Favorite East Colfax restaurant: “7 Leguas is easily one of my favorite restaurants in East Colfax. The service is always outstanding, and I’m pretty sure I’ll never run out of delicious entrees to try out — the menu is so extensive.”
Favorite dish there: “Carne Tampiqueña (grilled arrachera steak, served with mole enchilada, chicken flauta, rice and beans with guacamole, roasted jalapeño and green onions).”
Name: Jamie Perkins
Neighborhood affiliation: Transportation Chair, East Montclair/East Colfax Neighborhood Association
Time in Denver: Lived in Arvada 2013-14, and in Denver since 2014, in the East Colfax neighborhood.
Favorite East Colfax restaurant: “Tacos Acapulco on the corner of Colfax and Yosemite is my favorite restaurant in my neighborhood. It’s dirt cheap, delicious, and just the right amount of greasy.”
Favorite dish there: “All the food is good, but the pupusas are the best thing on the menu and come hot and crispy right off the grill. Add a side of plantains and horchata. There’s only a small bar with a few stools inside, but there’s almost always a seat on the patio.”