Author: - February 27, 2012 - Updated: February 27, 2012

“Everything ends this way in France – everything. Weddings, christenings,
duels, burials, swindlings, diplomatic affairs – everything is a pretext
for a good dinner.” — Jean Anouilh

Avenue Grill
638 E. 17 Ave. • 303-861-2820

While the web site sez the restaurant has been open 16 years, I was there 19 years ago, and for all that time this San Francisco style grill still rocks. The menu features food from the four corners of the Bay City: North beach, the Wharf, China town, and old San Francisco. The menu items consist of foods found in Italy and the Pacific Rim.

Grub is served ‘til 11 during the week, ‘til midnite on weekends. The menu is updated regularly. The bar is quite the happening place after work and late at night.

The daily lunch menu is huge. There are over a dozen munchies and salads, including several unusual items. Try the chicken and spinach potstickers, or the chilled shrimp Cobb salad. Next on the menu is a selection of noodle dishes. Howsabout King Canyon buffalo stroganoff, with sautéed ground buffalo, mushrooms, shallots and egg noodles? Avenue specialties include muh fav dish, the house cioppino. Y’all know I’m a sangie and burger buff, and here the selection is large. Of course I never skip the house burger cuz it’s quite yummy with fantastic fresh cut french fries.

Monday nite is prime rib nite, a succulent 10 oz. hearty cut with country style potatoes, chef’s choice daily vegetables, au jus and creamy horseradish for $16.00.

I really don’t like that word “succulent” ever since I heard on the radio a commercial for a Colorado Springs jeweler describing her selection of diamonds as “succulent.” Just can’t get past it.

This East 17th Ave neighborhood is replete with good eateries, but none better than The Ave. Tell ‘em The Fox sencha.

Le Central
112 E. 8 Ave. • 303-863-8094

This is “The affordable French restaurant,” where the grub is truly exquisite and reasonably priced. Desserts are 2-die-4. Sunday brunch is killer. If you like mussels, this is The Place. The French bread is maaavelous. G takes ‘Lil Emma, age 11, when I’m outta town. They feast on mussels, Caesar salad with extra anchovies for Emma, and lotsa bread and french fries. Now Harper B, age 9, goes also. She devours a bucket of mussels without sharing. Nor does she share her chocolate mousse. G has to get her own mussels. I get the leftovers. Want a great steak and some veggies? This is also the place. One of muh favs for lunch, you’ll find me at table 110. Try one of their unbelievable house-made cakes for your next party. They offer monthly wine dinners, weekly soufflé nites and terrific cooking classes. And the best french fries you’ve ever had. Yes, the word “french” as in french fries, is not capitalized.

Owner Robert Tournier and I go back 40 years and he’s still in the kitchen most every day. Those of you who remember La Chaumier French Restaurant in Pinewood Springs back in the early ‘70’s will remember the fabulous cuisine but especially the house-made soups and desserts that Robert was famous for. Am I showing my age? It was there that I learned to appreciate fine cognac and French cuisine. Love that stuff.

The Warwick Hotel
1776 Grant St. • 303-861-2000

This is one of several locales that legislators and staff stuff and slurp at during the session. Last summer the cooking reins were taken over by Jean Claude Cavalera, a French-trained chef who, along with his wife Caroline, owned and operated the famed Caroline’s in Grand Lake for 20 years. I have clients who rave about Caroline’s.

The luncheon menu is simple but diverse and well-executed. The appetizer section features lump crab cakes, crispy calamari,

PEI mussels, and several other items that give you a clear understanding that this isn’t an ordinary kitchen. There are several soups made fresh daily along with a half dozen salads for those of you that don’t enjoy real food. For me, the sangie board is where it’s at, ceptin they don’t include burgers with the sangies. Maybe they’re just singling out the burgers as a separate category so you get their attention. The burgers are good. Maybe even superb or even fantastic. I guess I have to reserve judgment cuz I haven’t tried one prepared by the new chef. But that will change soon enuf.

The rest of the sangie board includes a dozen familiar sangies as well as some unusual. Try the rib eye melt. Or better yet try the porchetta hoagie: slow roasted pork belly roulade sliced thin, with pickled red cabbage and provolone. The Cubano sangie is very popular, made with Cuban pork (whatever that is). The sangie board also boasts a Monte Cristo Panini, this eatery’s take on a once very popular deep-fried sangie. Here it’s made of ham, gruyere cheese on white bread in egg batter with fig jam. Yo!

The dinner and Sunday brunch menus are even more exciting, so check out their website. Chef Cavalera has added some exquisite dishes. You can read all about it on-line. Look for the section about the culinary team, albeit it appears to be a one-member team. Duh?

A perty set of rooms house some super grub served by a well-trained staff. Good buggers, great sangies, good soups and salads. Even desserts are yummy. Lotsa legislators lunch here. Many return after their workday is done.


Jay Fox, our esteemed dining critic, can be reached at

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