Littleton’s got a couple new places to get social. Bacon Social House, the second location of the hip uptown brunch spot, opened at Vita Littleton — the apartment complex formerly called the …
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Littleton is making its way into the Denver foodie scene, said Denise Mickelsen, the food editor of culture magazine 5280.
“It’s on the radar,” Mickelsen said. “It seems like every time I turn around, Littleton keeps popping up.”
Mickelsen cited the expansion into Littleton of established Denver hotspots like View House, Bacon Social House and Adelita’s.
“As the Denver market gets saturated with new openings, brands are branching out into smaller towns,” Mickelsen said.
Sometimes the reverse is true, Mickelsen said, citing Littleton original Carboy Winery, which recently opened a third location in Denver.
Littleton is also blessed with an array of quirky local favorites, she said, and while the city isn’t alone in concerns over high-end eateries pushing out longtime institutions, there’s drama up and down the spectrum.
“With real estate prices sky-high, coupled with tight profit margins and a labor shortage, lots of places have it tough,” Mickelsen said. “But for a full and healthy food scene, you need all levels.”
The trick going forward, Mickelsen said, will be to get more chefs to think of Littleton as a place to open their first location. But they’ll have to grapple with the same price pressures as everyone else.
“How does someone with a dream and a set of family recipes get started now?” she said.
Bacon Social House
2100 W. Littleton Blvd.
Free garage parking with validation
Open 7 days a week
Brunch: 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Dinner: Sunday-Thursday 4 p.m.-9 p.m., Friday-Saturday 4 p.m.-10 p.m.
Social Bar & Lounge
3625 W. Bowles Ave.
Doors open at 3 p.m.
Littleton’s got a couple new places to get social.
Bacon Social House, the second location of the hip uptown brunch spot, opened at Vita Littleton — the apartment complex formerly called the Grove — in May.
Across town, classy cocktail joint Social Bar & Lounge recently opened in the sleepy Columbine Valley Shopping Center at Lowell Boulevard and Bowles Avenue.
The two social spots join others building the gastronomic milieu of a town where fine dining and drinking once meant little more than steak and beer.
Bacon me crazy
Bacon Social House features a retro-chic vibe, said marketing director Molly Martin, with a menu to match.
“It’s all about playful takes on classic items,” Martin said.
The restaurant’s signature menu item is the “bacon flight,” Martin said — a twist on the “flights” of beers at craft breweries — featuring, you guessed it, up to a half-dozen strips of gourmet bacon for $9.95.
Other big hits on the menu include the chicken and waffles ($16.50), Martin said, and the bacon tater tots ($4). Bacon Social House also offers several vegetarian and vegan options.
The breakfast menu also boasts a slew of cocktails for pre-noon whistle-wetting, including several containing, yes, more bacon.
Unlike Bacon Social House’s northern neighbor in Denver’s Sunnyside neighborhood, Littleton’s location also offers a full dinner menu, including specialties like pan-seared halibut ($20) or bacon-wrapped meatloaf ($13.50).
The restaurant found a home at Vita Littleton at Littleton Boulevard and Bemis Street, marking the first entrée of an upscale eatery onto the stretch of Littleton’s main drag east of the railroad tracks.
Littleton’s community charm makes a great setting for Bacon Social House, said general manager Jason Isch.
“Sunnyside is a more transient population, which is great because we meet people from all over,” Isch said. “Littleton is more family-focused, and we love that.”
Bacon Social House’s nouveau vibe is attractive to Danny Lee, who dropped by for his second visit with friend Linh Ly on June 27.
“It’s more modern than other places in town,” Lee said. “Lots of the other breakfast restaurants around here are pretty old-fashioned. Plus the food’s great.”
Social Bar & Lounge is something of a surprise given its environs in an otherwise sleepy strip mall, said owner Steve Cominsky.
“I love watching people open the door and seeing their jaws drop,” Cominsky said.
The bar at 3625 W. Bowles Ave. is outfitted with high-backed leather booths and clad in the muted tones of a fancy downtown cocktail lounge.
Social Bar offers 20 beers on tap and more than two dozen wines, but the real spirit of the place is in its 14 cocktails — seven classics and seven special creations.
The Old Old Fashion ($12), one of the classics, is made the same way it was in the 1880s, with bourbon, simple syrup, bitters and an orange twist, said Cominsky, who has managed, co-owned or consulted on bars and taverns for 35 years.
The new-fangled recipes include the Monster ($10), featuring vodka, sage, maple syrup, lemon juice and apple cider.
“The idea is to offer approachable craft cocktails in the suburbs,” Cominsky said.
The bar’s location might seem unconventional, Cominsky said, but that’s part of the plan.
“Downtown Denver is awesome, but it’s hard to get to,” Cominsky said. “Downtown Littleton is lots of fun, but parking is really hard. This is a great little neighborhood gathering place.”
The “social” in the name seems to fit the atmosphere, Cominsky said.
“You don’t see a lot of phones out here,” Cominsky said. “People are really getting to know each other.”
Openings and closings
Bacon Social House and Social Bar & Lounge are joined by other spots that have opened in Littleton in 2019, including PokeCo, Littleton’s first poke salad restaurant, and Simple Simon’s Pizza.
Riize Coffee opened recently at 8200 Southpark Circle, joining a number of other new businesses filling in the area northeast of Santa Fe Drive and County Line Road.
The city has seen a few closings this year as well, with Spur Coffee on Prince Street near downtown closing last winter under mysterious circumstances.
At Prince Street and Santa Fe Drive, both Breugger’s Bagels and Subway shut their doors this year.
Down at the south end of town, 38 State Brewing served its last beer at the end of May, after eight years and numerous awards.
“We’ve been blessed to have met so many wonderful people throughout this journey that we would’ve never known otherwise,” read a post on 38 State’s Facebook page. “The smiles and high fives will be missed the most.”
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