Hottest Fast-Casual Restaurants in Denver

Why it made the list: When Jean-Philippe Failyau and Peter Newlin (Park BurgerHomegrown Tap & Dough) launched this all-day chicken shack in the old Tom’s Home Cookin’ space last summer, they made headlines as much for their business model and design as for their food, centered on custom-built smart kiosks for an almost entirely tech-driven service experience in a sunny, pop-industrial setting. But it’s all about the crispy, juicy bird for their instantly loyal fan base, which is only growing with the fall debut of a second branch in the Union Station Whole Foods Market and the anticipation surrounding a third near BU.

Must-order: Whether on a breakfast-only biscuit or a pickle-dotted bun, the Nashville Hot takes the top slot, followed closely by the Deluxe, topped with pepper jack, bacon, tomato, lettuce and herbed buttermilk mayo.

In a city that’s knonwn as a hub of fast-casual innovation, there’s always a killer new counter joint around the corner. These eight wave-making, rave-drawing newcomers — all, with one close-enough exception, opening within the past year — are poised to earn their place in the pantheon alongside Denver’s most beloved standbys. 

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Lauren Vaughan