Jonesy’s Eat Bar – A Favorite Denver Gastropub

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Right outside Jonesy’s on the corner of 20th & Logan in downtown Denver, Colorado. Click on the picture to visit their Facebook Page.  Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Mar 2014

Your first question may be, “What is a gastropub?” This type of establishment reflects the warm comforts of your neighborhood bar while still dishing up some delicious, high-end food. At Jonesy’s, the food boasts fun creativity, collecting comfort foods from around the globe and recreating them at an affordable price.

 

Opened in 2008, Jonesy’s focuses on the simple pleasures of relaxing at a local eatery. An insta-comfort zone, Jonesy’s is built with a welcoming atmosphere, supporting the wino and Colorado Craft Beer junky alike; bonus – they ALSO cater to foodies near and far. The menu is anything but foreign- it’s simple to pick out old favorites with a new, funky twist.

A speciality of Jonesy’s are their ridiculously addictive fries in several flavors.The header of the fry menu states “Best fries in the US + Best in Denver”; DenverSpeax is here to assure you that they were not fibbing a bit. And, why is that? Oh, because we tried all of them.

That’s right – 3 mouths, one sitting, 5 plates of fries: 

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Thai Ginger fries at Jonesy’s – click on the link to check out their Facebook Page! Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Mar 2014

To get a feel of what we were in for, we began with the Thai Ginger, a plate bursting at the seams with a powerful kick of spice teamed up with a sweet thai chili glaze.

BETTER buffalo wing fries and sammy

Getting our snack on at Jonesy’s Eat Bar – pictured is a fantastic vegetarian option, The Tuscan Veggie sub chocked full of sautéed harvest mushrooms, stewed garlic tomatoes, gorgonzola, arugula. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Mar 2014

After eating one plate of fries, we had to check out what was going on with the rest of the menu. Luckily, we were able to try the other fry flavors via sides with our meals! The Buffalo Fries were to die for; crumbly, blue cheese with mouth-watering buffalo wing sauce smothered over a heap of hot, crispy fries.

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Bacon Mac’ n Cheese fries? Don’t mind if we do! Check out the menu by clicking on the picture. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Mar 2014

 

We loved how the fries were crispy at first, but eventually soaked up the sauce of whichever flavor we tried. There may, or may not have been, an argument regarding whether the first or last bites were the best.

 

By the end of this magical Jonesy’s journey, we were stuffed. Plates of fries, Colorado craft beer, entree’s…. BUT WE COULDN’T STOP. So we did what any sensible person does when they’re over-stuffed and unbuttoning the top button on their jeans, and ordered dessert.

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A dish created so well, no drop could be left behind – check out other dessert options at Jonesy’s by clicking on this picture! Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Mar 2014

Vietnamese ice cream atop a chocolate brownie – a fantastic collaboration of sweet, rich, and indulgent. The Vietnamese ice cream was most definitely the best we had ever tasted, agreeing that this should be a weekly splurge. Oddly enough, the dessert kind of resembled what we loved about the fries – the smothered goodness of flavor, enhancing each fry as they sat and soaked.

Stop by and check out Jonesy’s at 400 E 20th Ave in Denver. The environment provides a great outlet to wind down the week. Also, the patio should be opening soon due to this amazing weather we’re having – sit outside, take a load off, and enjoy a brew and some fries!

 

 

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Smokin Yard’s BBQ – High Fives All Around

Our friend Thomas started talking about Smokin Yard’s at approximately 7 am Saturday morning, and didn’t stop until we visited the place on the way home from Keystone. He continuously described what sounded like the best BBQ in Colorado, not leaving out a single, juicy detail. Because of my family ties and our time spent in the South, he needed to know what we (Steven and I) thought about it.

After a fun day skiboarding (some of us ski and some of us board – “skiboard”, pronounced “skuh-board”, originated in the Michigander from some silly friends, and just stuck), we drove through Idaho Springs to find Smokin Yard’s BBQ.

[Thomas]: Yeah, yeah… just keep driving through town until you feel like you’ve gone too far… Then, when you feel like you must’ve missed it, it’ll be on the left hand side of the street.

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Steve (left) and Thomas (right) showing the Smokin Yard’s pig some lovin’. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Dec 2013

He was right – there it was!

Located at 2736 Colorado Blvd, Idaho Springs, Colorado 80452, Smokin Yard’s is right off of i70 – perfectly situated on the way home from a day out on the mountain. As soon as you walk in, you notice the friendly environment and the low-key, easy-going staff. The inside wasn’t crowded, but you could immediately tell that they have their base of loyal, repeat customers. The menu is posted on the wall right when you enter, consisting of faves like different cuts of brisket, styles of pulled pork, and other smoked meats.

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Catfish Po’ Boy at Smokin Yard’s in Idaho Springs – click on the link to check out the full menu! Credit: Steve Mercer, Dec 2013

Right away, Steven noticed they had a Catfish Po Boy, and had to try it out. Thomas ordered up the pulled chicken on bun while I opted for pulled pork without a bun (in order to have enough room for the important part!).

Also featured on the Smokin Yard’s menu is a list of comfort sides, like french fries, cole slaw, baked beans, and mashed potatoes with gravy. We each picked a different side to go along with our respective meals, and a beer to wash it all down.

Our friend definitely wasn’t lying; the smell of the food made my mouth water, and the taste brought back memories of my home down south. There was nothing fancy about any of the meals served- just genuine, authentic Southern BBQ, cooked with the customer’s happiness in mind. When our server (and other staff) came by and asked how it was, we provided a round of high-fives to show our appreciation and admiration for the incredible job well done. We may or may not have gotten a little creepy with our gushing compliments.

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Pulled pork, mashed potatoes, and Smokin Yard’s three original sauces. Check out their menu by clicking on the picture. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Dec 2013

Three sauces are placed on each table: a sweet, a bold, and a spicy, all of which created by the geniuses at Smokin Yard’s. I doused all of my tender, pulled pork I had ordered in the bold sauce and enjoyed every minute of it. I would have totally licked the paper tray it came in, but wanted to keep some sort of composure in the restaurant.

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Pulled chicken and fries, pre-doused in sauce. Click on the picture to check out Smokin Yard’s website. Credit: Steve Mercer, Dec 2013

To be honest, we had a brief conversation regarding not posting about Smokin Yard’s strictly because it is so awesome. Of course, the conversation, like I said, was brief; the whole point of DenverSpeax is to get the word out about these fantastic places and celebrate the great job they do.

Smokin Yard’s is a place we will drive for. Check out the reviews on their website as well as their Facebook page if you don’t believe us – not only do they understand how to do BBQ right, they understand how to treat their customers by showing they truly care. Stop in next time you’re on the way home from shredding the mountain, or hop in the car and take a quick road trip to Idaho Springs. You won’t be sorry!

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Tommyknocker Brewery – Colorado Mountain Town Craft Beer

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Tommyknocker brews: 5 oz samples of each beer on tap, for a $1.50 a pop. Try them out – click on the picture to be brought to Tommyknocker’s Facebook page. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, OCT 2013

Loveland Pass is a great place to bring your friends and family when visiting the Denver area; here’s another place that you can incorporate on the way to Loveland Pass! Tommyknocker Brewery is located in Idaho Springs, one of many small mining towns west of Denver. It’s about a 40 minute drive in decent traffic from North Colorado Blvd’s i70 ramp.

When our friend Chris was in town from Michigan, we didn’t get the chance to run up to the Pass, but we were able to bring him to Tommyknocker’s to show him more of Colorado’s awesome brews. Whenever we stop there, I always order the Nuts and Berries Salad and pair it with the Tundrabeary Ale. If a pairing isn’t notated on the menu, your server will be able to suggest a great brew to go along with any food ordered, whether it be a juicy burger or pub food, like their Homemade Bacon Jalapeño Poppers.

To give Chris an idea of what Tommyknockers is all about, we ordered one of each brew in a 5 oz. sampler size for $1.50 each – that’s only .30 cents an ounce! Also, we ordered up our favorite Beer-Battered Mushrooms (pictured below) drizzled with balsamic glaze, and the Bacon-wrapped Jalapeño Poppers (also pictured below). Both of the pub appetizers came out piping hot, and reasonably portioned. It was pub-food heaven with our apps and 50 oz of delicious, assorted beers.

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Bacon-wrapped Jalapeño Poppers – these were a big hit, and might actually take over the number spot for me as fave appetizer at Tommyknocker’s! Click on the picture to head over to Tommyknockers menu. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, OCT 2013

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Beer-Battered Mushrooms with a balsamic glaze drizzle. The mushrooms are actually HUGE and super juicy – they aren’t your 2 am, drunken bar food mushroom, no sir! Click on the photo to check out Tommyknocker Brewery’s menu. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, OCT 2013

Not only did we order these kick-ass appetizers, of course we had to try out some mains! Steven had a giant reuben with sweet-potato tots, while Chris had a few brots with kraut and fries. Let me take a minute to describe the fries Chris received; smothered in buffalo sauce and blue cheese, the fries definitely made a good impression at our table. The pairing of buffalo sauce and blue cheese atop golden french fries is genius!

I was content with my Nuts and Berries salad – the produce and apples are always fresh, and the caramelized walnuts are to die for. Again, this paired with the Tundrabeary Ale guarantees satisfaction. Adding broiled chicken adds $2, but is well worth it. The salad is so ridiculously large -I’m never able to finish it. Hooray for lunch the next day!

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Check out the Reuben Steven ordered stacked with juicy, corned-beef. Are you seeing a pattern with the serving portions? They’re huge! Thanks, Tommyknocker’s. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Oct 2013

Everything is decently priced and beyond reasonably portioned – the plate sizes are huge! If you’re passing through and just want to try the brews and get a snack, split the Motherload Nachos – “A heaping platter of freshly fried tortilla chips, topped with chili con queso, cheddar cheese, black beans, pico de gallo, cilantro, and sour cream. Served with a side of salsa” (Credit: Tommyknocker Brewery menu). When they say a heaping platter, don’t take this statement lightly – these nachos are massive. Also, you can add some protein – chicken or buffalo; add guac as well, if you so dare.

Aside form the food and the brews, Tommyknocker’s venue is fantastic. You can see the beer being brewed while sitting in the brewery / pub area; it’s really incredible to watch the brewmasters go to work and do what they do best – brew outstanding beer! There is an additional room for restaurant seating as well. They also have a small shop, located right at the entrance, with a cooler full of their beer and rootbeer (that they ALSO brew themselves!), t-shirts, beer coozies, and other Tommyknocker gear.

Check out our glorious dinner!

nut and berry salad

Check out this salad: apples, fresh greens, red onions, dried cranberries, feta cheese, caramelized walnuts, and a side of raspberry vinaigrette. I opted to add the chicken for an extra $2. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Oct 2013

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Check out that homemade ‘kraut! Strictly delicious. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Oct 2013

Check out the Tommyknocker Brewery website and see what specials and events they have going on down at the Brewery.

If you find yourself heading west, take a break and check it out. They have a great menu, appropriate for all ages with good comfort-classics. The wait staff and bartenders are friendly, and the venue is incredible. Watching Tommyknockers brew staff actually brew the beer while you eat, drink, and maybe watch a football game or two creates such a cool environment to take your out-of-town guests.

Check it out and let us know what you think!

Steuben’s Food Service – A Classic Denver Eatery

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Outside signage on the side of the Steuben’s building – just added a touch of colors. Click on the picture to visit their Facebook page, and of course – like ’em! Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2013

A few weeks ago on a Saturday night, my friends and I were jonesin’ for a place with great food where we could sit, relax, eat dinner, and be merry. Up until this point, I’m not quite sure how many people had looked at me in horror, and with a high-pitched voice exclaimed, “WHAT? You haven’t been to Steuben’s???!!??” No more of that – I have visited and endured the famous, comfort-food eatery that is Steuben’s Food Service.

Steuben’s is situated at 523 E. 17th in Denver, on the corner of 17th and Pearl in an old auto-garage turned restaurant. The restaurant sports many areas to park (and lock up) both your bike and your car; however, with the popularity of this place I’d hands down suggest riding your bike. It can be tricky to find a spot to park on the weekend when everyone has the same idea as you to visit!

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Simple and beautiful table arrangements with a filling, great-tasting menu. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2013

What’s great about the Steuben’s experience is the fact that there’s something for everyone (kids included!). The menu is so diverse and does a great job of including new and old American comfort food favorites. Capturing regional influences, dishes are re-created from fan favorites all over the country, and provided for a moderate price here in Denver at Steuben’s. Favorites include shrimp and grits, mac n’ cheese, fried chicken, and (my extremely satisfying choice) a cayenne etouffee. For starters, we ordered up some steubie snacks – little fried pieces of meat topped with powdered sugar, paired with a delicious sauce that actually off-set the sweetness of the powdered sugar. Simply genius, fellas – simply. genius.

We sat inside, and unfortunately with the lighting, the pictures I took of our food were reluctant to provide real insight into Steuben’s awesome offerings; thus, I left them out. By the way, in addition to having indoor seating and bar seating, Steuben’s also provides a great patio, perfect for the weather we’ve been experiencing here in Denver. The ambience where we sat was nice, calming, home-like, and welcoming. I could definitely sit back, relax, and enjoy some great food – just what we were hoping for!

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Walking into Steuben’s to get some good eats! Click on the pic to visit Steuben’s Official Website Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2013

Don’t really have time to sit down and eat? No worries – they offer a take-out menu, food truck, and sell a Vesta cookbook! Not really hungry, but interested? Look up their episode on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives and see for yourself before you try it out.

Another awesome place to visit in Denver; go check it out this weekend when you have a hankering for something new. Quite sure you won’t be disappointed!