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Already at the helm of several of the Mile High City’s top restaurants (Mizuna, www.mizunadenver.com; Luca, www.lucadenver.com), chef Frank Bonanno recently added a trio of new spots to his repertoire: Lou’s Food Bar (www.lousfoodbar.com), an eatery serving French-American comfort food, Green Russell, a speakeasy, and Wednesday’s Pie (www.wednesdayspie.com), a pie shop open just one day a week. Juggling seven varied venues doesn’t leave Bonanno with time for much else, but he shares some tips on how a visitor can experience his city like a local.
Must-sees: First time visitors to Denver should definitely check out Larimer Square (www.larimersquare.com). It offers a bevy of great, unusual shops (such as Posh and Violet, www.violetstores.com) and a collection of restaurants with solid, interesting menus. It’s near all the theaters and events downtown and it’s just a really cool, beautiful historic block.
Ideal Denver day: Grab a bicycle, skates, or walking shoes and get lunch at Masterpiece Deli (www.masterpiecedeli.com) in the Highlands, which has great, fresh sandwiches. Nearby, Little Man makes unbelievable ice cream from scratch. Get your cone to go and head across the pedestrian bridge, which brings you right into the heart of downtown Denver and the 16th Street mall. On Sundays, wheels are allowed on what’s normally the pedestrian mall, and it’s terrific for people-watching.
Favorite nearby getaway: Keystone Ski Resort (www.keystoneresort.com). It offers excellent children’s ski and snowboard programs, but the dining is lacking, so we make a night of it by cooking at whichever condo we rent. Inxpot (www.inxpot.com) is terrific for breakfast, though; they have strong coffee and good protein-filled meals for an active day.