The Best Weekday Lunches In Denver
Where to have the best lunch in Denver, Monday through Friday.
Ask anyone with a 9-5 job what their lunch break looks like and the response will likely be something along the lines of, “tight deadlines,” “too many meetings,” or “what’s a lunch break?” And while these are valid reasons not to go out of the way for a midday meal, you can only have so many three-day-old leftovers before your boss’ head turns into a meatball sub during the afternoon meeting. When you get to that point, try these spots.
photo credit: TASHA FITTS
Ohana Island Kitchen
Ohana Island Kitchen started as a take-out window and picnic table operation, but after people started going crazy for the poke bowls and other Hawaiian food, it moved to a brick and mortar space in LoHi. It’s still small, but works for a healthy solo meal or a place to meet with a group. For something different, get the spam musabi - a nori, spam, and rice wrap that’s ideal for a takeout situation.
Denver Central Market
We won't suggest you drive all the way to River North, since there's a good chance you spend your lunch break circling for a parking spot. However, if you work in the area, a quick walk to Central Market will be rewarded with plenty of worthwhile lunch options. Imagine your middle school cafeteria, but instead of soggy fries and fluorescent lighting there’s a butcher, oysters, a full bar, and a cool warehouse feel. If you’re not in a hurry, get some meats and cheeses at Culture and eat them on the patio.
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Buchi Cafe Cubano
This out-of-the-way coffee and sandwich cafe in Northwest is the perfect place for escaping your co-workers and spending some quality time with a hot cuban sandwich. Pair it with the cortadito, get some sun on the patio out front, and pretend you don’t have to go back to your cubicle.
Anything with the people from Frasca’s fingerprints on it gets us excited, and Pizzeria Locale is no exception. They do Neapolitan pizzas, and the fresh dough and excellent toppings make them a serious contender for best thin crust in town. Plus, they come out in under five minutes, so you’ll be able to stuff your face and make it back for your 1pm meeting. Even better - have your meeting there. All the locations (especially Highland Square) are big and surprisingly quiet, which makes them good for working lunches.
This is a great sandwich shop to hit when you want something really filling - and you also don’t want to bring it back to the office. The menu has some soups and salads, but you want to focus on the giant Italian sandwiches. Grab a seat on the patio with The Frankie and settle in. You’re going to want to be with your sandwich alone.
Brider is our favorite upscale fast-casual spot for lunch in the city. There are fresh rotisserie chickens right behind the checkout counter, sweet potato and avocado salads, fried chicken sandwiches, specialty bowls, and freshly baked pastries. The only downside is that the parking situation isn’t great, so plan accordingly.
Vital Root is fast-casual spot from the team behind Root Down and Linger, except one with a mostly vegetarian and vegan menu. The food here is really good, whether you eat meat regularly or not, so come for things like banh mi tacos and roasted mushroom and squash risotto - that are regulars in our lunch rotation. It’s perfect for a solo or small group trip to Tennyson Street when you want excellent food that’s a bit lighter.