Get baked, wander the city and let the spirit of the munchies guide you to one of these highly-regarded eateries.
Since legalization of cannabis in Denver, Colorado, the urban landscape has experienced a surge of marijuana enthusiasts and medical refugees alike looking to make a home in the Mile High City. Abandoned properties once stuck motionless in a state of decay have been revived by grow operations and newly legal businesses. What was once derelict has been brought back to life, breathing energy into the city streets.
Taking part in a cultural revolution can cause one to work up an appetite, so as one of those marijuana enthusiasts new to Denver, you might be asking yourself, “Where are the best places to eat while stoned?”
Well, we’re here to help you find the best munchie fixes in the city with expert recommendations from a top cannabis chef, complete with pairing tips for primo pot strains—so get ready to blaze before stepping foot into one of these fine establishments!
1. City O’ City
Nestled in the busy streets of Capitol Hill, a large artery of Denver’s restaurant scene, the bohemian heart of City O’ City beats strong and rhythmically. This eclectically designed establishment caters to crowds from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, including painters, writers, artists, old souls, world travelers and local movers and shakers who find themselves within these walls for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Served along with local cheeses and guilt-free desserts, the artisan coffee, craft beer and cocktails are best enjoyed at the bar or on the bright breezy patio.
Sourced locally, the food served strengthens the vibrant economy of the community, and in the summer, produce comes directly from their urban garden. Plenty of options abound for vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free eaters, but if you are a carnivore, don’t distress, as these dishes are so delectable that you may actually find yourself pleasantly surprised!
Reinvented “Chicken & Waffles” will shake your conception of this dish to the core. “A waffle with bourbon-brined ‘chicken-fried’ cauliflower with a choice of either bourbon maple syrup and chive crème fraiché and ‘carrot bacon’; or southwestern style with chipotle chili sauce, vegan sour cream, sliced avocado, pineapple pico and pickled red onions.” Smoke an appetite-enhancing strain—such as Platinum Purple Kush—order a robust blonde roast coffee and eat the fuck out of the traditional-style Chicken and Waffles. You will have an out-of-body experience! (Thank me later.)
Located uptown, this all-vegan restaurant was the first of its kind, opening its doors in 1998, when nobody knew what the fuck “vegans” were supposed to eat! Whimsically decorated with paintings inspired by the beloved novel Watership Down, the ethereal atmosphere is inviting.
Formerly the sister restaurant to City O’ City, Watercourse was sold by owner Dan Landes to Lauren Roberts, paving the way for alternative food establishments in Denver. With great wholesome food, deliciously and passionately prepared, these types of restaurants work to minimize their environmental footprint. One of the top vegan establishments in the country, Watercourse boasts ingredients so fresh that your tongue will tingle with joy. Plus, breakfast is served all day, so even if you roll out of bed at 2 p.m., you can still get your wake n’ bake munchies!
My expert recommendations include the “Beet Wellington,” which will transform your conception of vegan food. “Whole roasted beet with mushroom duxelles, wrapped in phyllo pastry, served with roasted vegetables and a red wine and Earl Grey reduction,” reads the menu, tempting guests with familiar flavors interpreted in a wholly new way. I guarantee this dish will blow your carnivore mind, bruh! Be sure to order the “Ho-Ho Cupcake” to go, because after you’ve had your “come to Jesus” moment over vegan food, you’ll never look at another Ho-Ho Cupcake the same way.
3. Root Down
Its name inspired by the classic 1995 Beastie Boys EP, Root Down holds the same high energy as old-skool hip hop tracks. Formerly an auto shop, this funky restaurant serves up some of the most visually stunning dishes that also please the palette in a very satisfying way.
Plated in an upbeat, appealing manner, the food echoes the same fresh vibes coming off the paintings on the wall and the hustle of the busy streets outside. Whether you are into raw food, humanely-sourced proteins or locally cultivated veggies, this place has a little something for everyone.
Prepare yourself with an upbeat sativa strain such as Durban Poison to get you into the right state of mind to jibe with this funkadelic atmosphere. Get lifted with your favorite friends and order the “Devils on Horseback” to get your appetite piqued. Tender belly bacon from an ethical farm arrives on a platter, nestled alongside savory smoked almonds, decadent Gournay cheese fondue, succulent Peppadew peppers, paired with an earthy sherry gastrique. Rooted in tradition, but blossoming into creative flavors, Root Down won’t let you down!
Founded by brothers Jon and Adam Schlegel, Snooze A.M. Eatery was born in the Ballpark neighborhood of Denver. The atmosphere is upbeat and energetic, between the friendly servers, brightly painted walls and retro decor. In this lively ether, American classics are given a refreshing twist that will leave you wanting more!
Intense demand led this Denver restaurant to evolve into a local chain, which then expanded to California and Arizona. Sleepy-headed patrons should partake in an uplifting hybrid cannabis strain to mirror the comfy atmosphere. Golden Goat will not only bring a pleasant euphoric high, but will also give you enough energy to stretch your groggy wings and soar like a social butterfly!
Order a cup of coffee and the “Drunk’n Monkey French Toast” for a taste of the sweeter side of the menu. This goddess-given delight consists of slices of banana bread dipped in custard, then grilled to perfection. Topped with scrumptious rum toffee sauce, sprinkled with crunchy roasted walnuts and finally kissed with whipped mascarpone cream. A bruleéd banana ties it all together, just as much as the rug that “really tied the room together” for Jeff “the Dude” Lebowski.
5. Mario’s Double Daughter’s Salotto & Two-Fisted Mario’s Pizzeria
These places are like a twisted cross between a Tim Burton movie and the vivid dreams of Agent Cooper from David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. As you enter the enigmatic entrance, adorned with a sculpture of conjoined twins, the dark ethereal surroundings instantly transport your consciousness to another plane.
I absolutely recommend indulging in as much energizing Jack Herer cannabis as you can possibly handle before entering this otherworldly building. Find a spot to chill in the red teardrop-shaped seats located underneath a giant mass of gnarled black tree branches, or journey to the trippily-lit upper deck where railings are made out of axes.
Quench your cottonmouth with a whimsical drink and bury your munchies with a slice of pizza from Two-Fisted Mario’s next door. The “Teddy Bear’s Orgy,” made of sweet Smirnoff Strawberry, lovely triple sec, refreshing lime and a hit of cranberry juice, might just lead you to believe that you are in a David Lynch movie! Or choose the “Sweet, Moist, and Dewy,” composed of delightful cherry vodka, canoodling with peach Schnapps, dotted with soda and served on the rocks. Order a large slice of white pizza chock full of “Vampyre Repellant” to compliment the refreshing fruit drinks, just in case Nosferatu tries to crawl out of that gnarly tree you’re sitting beneath. The combination of the super heady creative high, wraithlike surroundings and orgasmic noshes will find you pinching yourself to see if you are indeed lost in a dreamscape!
Located on the hill in Boulder, the original Illegal Pete’s opened in 1995. Its counterculture atmosphere quickly became popular with hipsters and the local college students. Mashing up the perfect mix of Mission-style burritos, a chill place to hang out, live music and alcoholic drinks, Illegal Pete’s quickly blasted into the collective consciousness. Over time, eight other locations opened up (including one in Arizona), as hungry foodies demanded more of the handmade ultra-fresh fare. Whether you’re seeking breakfast, lunch, dinner or an oasis during a pub crawl, they’ve got you covered.
Amenable to vegetarian and gluten-free diets, the eclectic atmosphere demands a high quality, unique cannabis strain, such as Gorilla Glue, to be rolled into a nice juicy, fruity blunt wrap. Grape is a great flavor wrap whose thick smoke marries well with the pungent diesel, earthy notes of this strain. Then get your ass in line and order either the “Baja-Style Fish Tacos” or “Smothered Green Chili Burrito,” which should be consumed outside while enjoying the hustle and bustle of the city streets. With each bite of these stylish dishes, you will be left wondering why you haven’t eaten here sooner!
Sometimes you just want to get super baked and dig into food that is just as good as what Mama used to make! Steuben’s serves the universal need for American comfort food, taking it to the next level within a retro environment. Reflecting a diverse cultural experience of American cuisine, the menu makes you feel right at home no matter what your heritage happens to be.
The original Steuben’s opened in 1945 in Boston and was an instant success. The same family then opened up a Colorado location in 2006, which quickly solidified itself as a “go to” restaurant for locals. Their menu does not disappoint, with something for everyone. As your cannabis chef, I advise you to take a very big hit of Bruce Banner before entering Steuben’s. You won’t need much, just a tiny taste, so that your mind will enter a deep state of euphoria mixed with a deep body stone, perfectly suited to tuck into a rack of authentic Memphis ribs, a mouthwatering Cubano sandwich or some flavorful classic Buffalo wings. Steuben’s is comfort food at its finest in a setting that is very down-to-earth.
In the trendy LoHi neighborhood, this Asian fusion restaurant is serving up their modern take on traditional Japanese fare. Patrons will be wooed by Uncle’s made-to-order noodles, ethically raised meat, fresh ingredients and love that is poured into every long-simmered stock on the stove. Everything you think you know about ramen noodle houses will be challenged in the best possible way.
“The Spicy Chicken Ramen” will blow your mind. Poof! Like that. A hot bowl of spicy sesame broth garnished with vibrant scallions, crunchy bean sprouts and topped with a luscious runny soft egg. Not into chicken? Then get your pork on with “Chashu Ramen.” A classic Shoyu broth cloaks melt-in-your-mouth braised pork belly topped with funky menma, leafy mizuna and a soft egg. This tangy broth will have you on the verge of religious ecstasy from the time the steam kisses your face to the broth gliding across your tongue to each bite of the handmade noodles. Each food item is saturated in so much love that it is absolutely obligatory to partake in a strain that matches that energy. Smoke a fatty of a Sativa-dominant hybrid like Super Lemon Haze to get your vibes right. To put it lightly, Uncle’s ramen is insanely good!
Juxtaposed between a bar and a pizzeria, you will find this biscuit paradise inside the Atomic Cowboy. A mural depicting cowboys being chased by a drove of Martians in space suits sets the theme for this quirky, multi-faceted establishment. Bright lime green chairs and aerodynamic silver light fixtures look like they came directly from a 1960’s extraterrestrial movie set in Hollywood.
You best light up the funkiest strain you can get your hands on before entering this crazy-ass place! Might I suggest Alaskan Thunderfuck? The intensely creeping euphoria will rouse up an appetite big enough to eat a whole flight of biscuits, while also matching the unusual energy in the room. I suggest starting with “The Dahlia,” a dish of biscuit French toast, a savory homemade sausage patty, sweet apple butter, a perfectly fried egg and real honest-to-goodness maple syrup. With an eclectic menu and out-of-this-world décor, this place will have you thinking “Let’s get weird!” almost immediately!
When it comes to Chinese comfort food, this mom-and-pop restaurant found in a strip mall will become your new favorite place. Unpretentious and practical, this establishment wastes no energy on the décor. A few sparsely hung pictures of the old land and a long menu in Chinese characters adorn the walls. In this quaint restaurant, the warmth emanates from the welcoming arms of longtime couple Mr. and Mrs. Wang. Like any great Grandpa or Grandma, they will make you feel at home, sharing food saturated in an aura of love.
Before setting foot in the Wang’s house, you need to come correct. Light up some Girl Scout Cookies for a light-hearted and happy high. Then, find yourself a seat and make yourself at home. Be sure to try the Sour Dumplings or the “Xiao Long Bao,” the must-have dish in this noodle house. Artfully folded rice wrappers surround spiced pork and gelatin that liquefies into a soup while being steamed. One tiny nibble of the dumpling releases a mouthwatering broth that can be slurped right away or released into an accompanying spoon. I’m pretty sure these dank dumplings will be your new addiction!
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