RiNo stands for “River North” because it’s north (and a little south) of the South Platte River that runs just north of downtown. Lately though, it seems that RiNo has been standing for “Restaurants Increasing! New Openings!” There’s been a crazy influx of restaurant openings in this neighborhood, and it’s become the new “go-to” place to eat. There is so much variety that even if you have one person in your group that’s super particular, there’s a chance that even they’ll be satisfied.
The Source is cool because of all the variety. Inside there’s Acorn (New American) and Comida (Mexican street food), plus Crooked Stave (sour beer brewery) and Boxcar Coffee Roasters. There’s also Babettes, which supplies pastries to coffee shops around Denver (including the new Pigtrain Coffee in Union Station). The Source also houses charity organizations like Heroes Like Us and Slow Food Denver.
Another collaborative workspace in RiNo is Industry, a 120,000 square foot building that will house many different types of businesses. It is located between the 29th and 31st blocks of Brighton Blvd. In the first phase of the project, it’ll have at least four restaurants. In the future, their hope is to have about 65 townhomes – what a sweet place to live!
The first restaurant to open in Industry is The Griffin, a German beer hall specializing in German, Alsacian and Danish style eats. They say they don’t want to do “classic” German food, so they’re doing a more modern style of German, which includes all of the other cultural influences. The Griffin will also feature the doner kebab, which is the most popular street food in Germany right now. Of course, it also includes schnitzel because it wouldn’t be “German” without this popular staple. It also wouldn’t be “German” without a TON of beer taps, 40 to be exact! The restaurant wants their food to complement their beer instead of the other way around. Awesome.
Another restaurant coming soon to the Industry building is Tengu, a “modern casual Asian noddle shop.” The market wants another noodle shop since Uncle is so busy now, and for good reason! Tengu should do very well. It will be a tiny, intimate space for diners (the eating space is 750 sq.ft.) to choose from a nine-item menu. Yep, nine items. That’s extremely nice for simplicity, timeliness, and all around good-tastiness. In my opinion, restaurants with novels for menus are overselling and often times under delivering. Tengu’s goal is to become a quick lunch stop for ramen bowls and not necessarily have a chef-driven cuisine. My guess is that simplicity will be their “thing”, as their website right now is a picture of a waving cat with the phrase, “Meowtains and meowtains of ramen” next to it. That’s it. Well, I’m hooked. I’ll be there when it opens!
RiNo is booming so much right now that it’s quickly becoming the destination spot for new, cool, hip food concepts. So much so, that RiNo should probably stand for RIght NOw. I, for one, can’t wait for more.