DIGEST: Otra Vez opens, Chicken Fight! and more
As far as we know, until this week there were no spots along the 16th Street Mall serving beach-worthy cocktails out of giant skull glasses. Otra Vez, the Mexican cantina from the Tavern Hospitality Group, has changed that, opening up in the former Mike’s Camera space.
“We wanted to start something fun and different,” Tavern Hospitality Group owner Frank Schultz told us of the new concept. “We wanted a high-energy bar and Mexican food with a twist.”
High energy it is, with a giant, cowhide-fronted bar that almost bumps up against the Mall and eclectic decorations that include a door made of Mexicanstyle leather belts and murals painted by local artists.
“The décor is a little Quentin Tarantino-ish, without the blood,” Schultz said.
It’s the kind of place where you’ll want to have a fun drink in hand, and they make that really easy with more than 200 tequilas and 40 mezcals on deck. The margaritas — especially the refreshing and spicy Picante Pepino with cucumber and jalapeño — are great choices, but there are also tequila flights for the indecisive (and optimistic).
Then there are the Cocteles Para el Grupo, (group cocktails) served in those aforementioned skull glasses. The Bebida de Craneo is a fruity mix of pineapple, grapefruit and strawberries. Oh, and vodka. Lots of vodka. These are meant to fill up three or four people, so don’t go trying to be a hero.
The food is a mix of gringo favorites — tacos, burritos, enchiladas — with some surprises thrown in, like chicharrones nachos with braised pork belly and chile lime-crusted mahi-mahi. Desserts come with a shot of horchata, so you might as well order those sopapillas.
The upstairs mezcal lounge is cozier and darker than the larger downstairs space, but you’re not at a place like this to get away from it all, are you? No, you’re drinking something that’s been set on fire out of a giant skull, that’s what you’re doing.
Otra Vez: 610 16th St., Denver, 303-266-1567, OtraVezCantina.com, Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-midnight, Fri. 11-2 a.m., Sat. 10-2 a.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-midnight
BBB Eating your greens just got quicker and more convenient with the opening of MAD Greens’ first drive-thru restaurant in Louisville. That’s right: The Ty Cobb salad can now be yours without leaving the comfort of the driver’s seat. Rejoice, healthy/ lazy eaters of the world!
944 W. Dillon Road, Louisville, 720-213-0469, MADGreens.com, Mon.-Sun. 10:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m.
BBB We’re pretty sure the folks down at the Blake Street Tavern already know how to celebrate, but if you’re in the area, stop in to toast their victory of winning the 2017 National Sports Bar of the Year award. Las Vegas-based Nightclub & Bar Media Group sponsored the awards and will be recognizing the Denver bar at their annual convention in Vegas March 27-29.
2301 Blake St., Denver, 303-675-0505, BlakeStreetTavern.com, Mon.-Fri. 11-2 a.m., Sat. 9-2 a.m., Sun. 10-2 a.m.
BBB Chef shake-up at Avelina, which opened late last summer: Chef John Broening and pastry chef Yasmin Lozada Hissom are no longer with the LoDo restaurant. Wendy Aiello, representative for Avelina, told us that chef Bradley Yard has been promoted to executive chef.
“Yard has been instrumental in developing the menu at Avelina from its launch,” Aiello said in an e-mail. “He is finalizing the spring menu, which will be introduced in a few weeks.”
Aiello, who said the restaurant wishes the departing duo the best, didn’t elaborate on the break-up.
Avelina: 1550 17th St., Denver, 720-904-6711, AvelinaDenver.com, Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 4-11 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 4-10 p.m.
BBB A Colorado restaurant and chef have made the cut for The James Beard Foundation’s finalists.
Boulder’s Frasca Food and Wine is still in the running as one of just six restaurants in the nation left to battle it out for the Outstanding Restaurant award. Frasca previously won James Beard Awards for Outstanding Wine Service and Best Chef: Southwest (for Chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson).
Acorn’s Steve Redzikowski is one of six finalists for Best Chef: Southwest. Redzikowski has been a semi-finalist in the past, but has never made it to the final round.
“It is truly an honor to be named a (Best Chef: Southwest) finalist in this year’s James Beard Awards line up,” Redzikowski said via a representative. “Cooking is something I would do for nothing and to be recognized in this category is a dream come true. I am inspired every day by my team, my colleagues and my friends.”
Winners will be announced on May 1.
BBB Sure, you could pretend to mull over the pros and cons of eating wings and fried chicken from 40-plus restaurants in a single evening, but we all know that you’re going to go, so you might as well get discounted tickets, right?
Pre-sale tickets to Chicken Fight!, which takes place on May 25, will be available at least through Sunday, so this is your chance to get in on the early bird price of $39 for general admission.
In addition to feasting on fowl from restaurants like Mizuna, The Post, Low Country Kitchen and Bird Call, there will also be a craft cocktail competition and live music.
Chicken Fight! is produced by the same team that brought us Top Taco, so they know how to give people copious amounts of a single food. What a talent to have!
Chicken Fight!: May 25, 7:30-10:30 p.m.; tickets at ticketfly.com, River North Festival Grounds, 3715 Chestnut Place, Denver
Low Country Kitchen’s buttermilk fried chicken.
Street tacos and a margarita from Otra Vez.
Sports fans celebrate at Blake Street Tavern in 2012.
Chef Steven Redzikowski in the kitchen of Oak at Fourteenth in May 2015.