Denver’s century-old Union Station is still a departure point for trains, light rail and regional buses. A recent restoration has transformed this formerly tired station into a welcoming space, offering much more to do than just wait.
Union Station is now home to a dozen eateries and boutique shops, as well as a seasonal farmer’s market focused on local producers. Whether you visit for an hour between trains or make a special visit, take the time to indulge in these five locally sourced eats and drinks.
1. Terminal Bar for Colorado-crafted Spirits and Beer
Step up to the ticket window, and instead of purchasing your fare like passengers did in the station’s heyday, order a cocktail or beer. Now called Terminal Bar, the beautifully restored ticket counter is situated in the center of the action withing the station’s bustling Grand Hall.
Choose from 30 Colorado craft beers and ciders, wine by the bottle or glass, and distilled-in-Colorado spirits like Leopold Brothers’ absinthe and blackberry liqueur featured in creative cocktails, such as the Wynkoop Sour, a combination of bourbon, fresh lemon juice, and pear syrup.
2. Snooze: An A.M. Eatery for Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes
If you’re starting your day at Union Station, don’t miss breakfast at Snooze: An A.M. Eatery. Open from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., this breakfast joint offers a multitude of choices, but the light, fluffy pancakes remain a perennial favorite.
Regulars favor the indulgent pineapple upside down variety, topped with hot caramelized pineapple, cinnamon butter and vanilla crème Anglaise. The sweet potato, gingerbread and blueberry flavors are nearly as enticing, but the best way to try them all is by ordering a pancake flight — three different pancakes on one giant plate.
3. Milkbox Ice Creamery for Frozen Treats
Tucked into a space that was once the station’s barber shop, Milkbox Ice Creamery serves Denver-made Little Man Ice Cream cones, shakes and sundaes amid original mirrored walls that have graced the space for more than 100 years. Choose from 16 rotating flavors like German chocolate cake, strawberry Balsamic and salted maple pecan.
Craving something with more of a kick? Indulge in a spiked shake in powerful combinations, such as bourbon and butterscotch, strawberry and vodka, or chocolate orange and tequila. Or combine any ice cream with bourbon, rum, vodka or tequila to create your own boozy treat.
4. Next Door American Eatery for Colorado Black Angus Burger
For a quick bite, pull up a chair at the communal table at Next Door American Eatery and dig in. This community pub’s fast casual approach promises to prepare affordable, “real food” using ingredients sourced from U.S. farms and local producers.
These fresh ingredients make up the menu of inventive salads, sandwiches and burgers like the 100 percent Colorado-sourced Black Angus Burger. Make it your own by adding toppings ranging from creamy sauces and specialty cheeses to bacon and avocado. A popular daily happy hour features discounted bar snacks, wine on tap and Colorado craft beers.
5. Stoic & Genuine for Fresh Oysters and Lobster Rolls
Despite its landlocked locale, Stoic & Genuine serves just-caught seafood flown in daily from both coasts. The exhibition-style kitchen showcases a rotating selection of sea creatures, from signature oysters plucked from the water exclusively for Stoic & Genuine to whole Maine lobsters to raw crudo.
While Stoic & Genuine prides itself on inventive recipes, it also does right by the classics. The authentic lobster roll stuffs half of a lobster in a New England-style bun and pairs it with hearty potato salad — after one bite, you’ll feel instantly transported to the rocky coast of Maine.
Wash it all down with a refreshing house-made granita. This more authentic version of Italian ice comes in inventive flavors like chili citrus and black pepper orange, and can be enjoyed on its own or in cocktails.
These favorites are just a sampling of the fresh tastes this revitalized space has to offer.