STANLEY MARKETPLACE: COME & EAT

Taste something different. Stanley Marketplace restaurants and eateries strive to draw you here with something new

With a single, oft-quoted phrase, author and screenwriter Anna Thomas eloquently sums up the pervading wisdom at Stanley Marketplace: “We all eat, and it would be a sad waste of an opportunity to eat badly.”

With almost 20 new grub hubs in the new 100,000-square-foot emporium, ranging from artisanal chocolates to lavish “street” tacos that boast an elite “GF” (gluten free) beside the menu listing, there’s something for just about everyone at northwest Aurora’s newest cultural magnet. If you can’t find something appeasing here, it’s probably best to stick to your pickled preserves quietly accumulating dust in your nuclear fallout shelter. Just sayin.’

20161222-Stanley-Aurora, Colorado

Comida on Thursday Dec. 22, 2016 at Stanley Marketplace. Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel

20161222-Stanley-Aurora, Colorado

Comida on Thursday Dec. 22, 2016 at Stanley Marketplace. Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel

20161222-Stanley-Aurora, Colorado

Comida on Thursday Dec. 22, 2016 at Stanley Marketplace. Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel

20161222-Stanley-Aurora, Colorado

Sweet Cow on Thursday Dec. 22, 2016 at Stanley Marketplace. Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel

But before aimlessly wandering the market’s three floors of wonder, it’s important to realize that any given gastronomic tour de Stanley is wholly dependent on the time of your visit. In the mood for a boozy Sunday frolic? Perhaps a gravy-laden dish from Denver Biscuit Company is the answer. A quick weekday bite at lunchtime? A hand-held pie courtesy of Maria Empanada might do the trick. And as for that date night out on the town? A sit-down at Stanley Beer Hall or a pie at Sazza Pizzeria could be the solution for you.  There’s a never-ending merry-go-round of options at this eclectic souk of commerce and calories — a dizzying ride that can border on overwhelming. So, here are a few suggested mouth maps for how to make the most of your Stanley visit any time of the damn day. Silverware not provided.

Breakfast

After suffering through five grueling months without Rosenberg’s Bagels earlier this year — the place had to be renovated after a bizarre brush with fire — it would be downright criminal to ignore this local satellite of East Coast nosh. Tucked into Stanley’s far southeast corner, Rosenberg’s will be slinging the same, perfectly-boiled bagels that have become the craze of Denver’s Five Points neighborhood since opening up shop in 2014. We expect owner Joshua Pollack will be taking the same pains to ensure the bagels served in Aurora are of the same quality as those at the New Jersey native’s Denver location, a process steered by a particular tinkering with the water’s acidity levels. Did we mention they have stellar fish as well? We’d suggest following (or preceding) the Rosenberg’s visit with a stop at Logan House Coffee Company right next door for some strong cups of mud. And, if you — and your wallet — remain up for the task, Denver Biscuit Co., located just across the way, and Comida Cantina, almost parallel with Rosenberg’s and Logan House, dish out early-morning seconds for those who arrive particularly ravenous. While Comida is already open, DBC isn’t expected to begin serving in Stanley until February.

Lunch

When the sun is highest in the sky just may be the best time to visit Stanley — both in terms of the variety of open establishments and the energy that (we think) will be pulsing through the building. Properly caffeinated yet not overly imbibed, this could (maybe should?) be the place’s sweet spot. Those wishing to start the day off with a particularly adult beverage can waltz into Stanley Beer Hall in the market’s southwest cranny. The suds-slinging establishment opened for business in mid-December, and plans to operate from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. If you have a moment to hang around — we hope you do if you’re drinking at 11 a.m., buster — you can dive into the Beer Hall’s upscale pub fare, including spicy maple chicken wings, cider-glazed Brussels sprouts, or poutine. If you’re craving something (somewhat) lighter, Maria Empanada or Izzio Bakery can provide that hand-held little something to get you through the afternoon. Mondo Market could also provide a quick lil’ something; say, a piece of fruit, to help honor that whole New Year’s resolution thing.

Evening

Ah, suppertime — when darkness falls and stomachs growl. This would probably be the appropriate time to sip an adult beverage (but we promise we won’t tell if you take us up on the lunchtime advice) from one of the many watering holes on-site. From there, our pick for first-time visitors is Annette, the über-artisanal, wood-fired joint located on the south central portion of Stanley’s concourse. Headed by Chef Caroline Grover (of Acorn and Spotted Pig fame), the place will serve fare that will change for the seasons, save for Grover’s sought-after pecan pie, which will not be leaving the menu any time soon, according to a press announcement made earlier this summer. True carnivores can also head just south of Annette to Yellowbelly Chicken, the market’s resident fowl experiment after GoodBird Chicken dropped out of the project last year. With existing locations in Boulder and Vail, Yellowbelly serves well-roasted birds — mostly in servings intended for one diner — and local, farm-fresh sides. It’s, well, mothercluckin’ good (sorry, we had to). And if you don’t end with two scoops of salted caramel ‘scream on a pretzel cone from Sweet Cow (they’re an extra buck, but absolutely 100 percent worth it), you’re doing the whole thing completely wrong. Don’t do it wrong. Do it right and order a pretzel cone. You’ve waited this long. And we insist.

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