Stella’s on 16th is a little bit market, bakery & restaurant.
It all started with a pancake, explains Brian Cohen, co-owner of the new downtown restaurant/marketplace Stella’s on 16th. While traveling in LA, Cohen and his wife, co-owner Dawn “Stella” Cohen, were savoring pancakes at a local breakfast joint when they had a flash of inspiration: They could do the same thing, but bring it home to the heart of Denver. Fast forward a few years, and their idea has blossomed to include far more than just breakfast fare: a restaurant, bar, cafe, deli and marketplace.
Visualized as a one-stop shop for its urban patrons, Stella’s greets you with clean, modern lines and a bright, expansive interior. Just steps away from bustling Union Station and smack dab in the center of a thriving business center, Stella’s is equally suited for a quick bite on your lunch break or a long dinner with friends. And if it’s breakfast you’re after, well…remember that pancake? Grandma Jean’s pancakes ($6), made from Cohen’s own Grandmother’s recipe, certainly live up to expectations: fluffy yet hearty, sweet with just the right amount of salty. Served with butter swirled into an unmistakable “S” and warm, sticky maple syrup, you’ll be tempted to neglect the rest of the menu. Don’t give into temptation, however, as their lighter offerings (try the Brûléed Grapefruit, $4) hit all the right notes: sweet, fresh and perfectly paired with a cup of locally roasted Boxcar Coffee.
And if you miss breakfast, don’t despair: Stella’s executive chef Thach Tran has you covered at all hours of the day. Lunch? His Lemongrass Chicken Bahn Mi ($11), a generous serving of chicken, aioli and crunchy sweet pickles heaped on a sandwich roll will put your standard lunch-break sub to shame. If you’re looking for greens, the smoked salmon avocado salad ($14) is pure summer on a plate: cold smoked salmon and avocado over mixed greens, topped with crunchy fried turnips and a sunny citrus dressing. Dinner? We sampled the artisanal meat and cheese board ($20) with local offerings like Broken Shovel Chèvre and Elevation Fennel Pollen Salami. The Grilled NY Strip ($20), perfectly grilled with a merlot demi-glace and colorful carrots, was luxurious but simple. Take note: No matter breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you should definitely finish your meal with one of Stella’s to-die-for macarons— I recommend the cotton candy.
Perhaps one of Stella’s most exciting features is still to come: one of the largest outdoor patios in the city, slated to open April 1st. Enjoy a cocktail (or two!) and take in the views Union Station has to offer. Sip on the Stella ($10), a signature cocktail of gin and white cranberry, muddled cucumber and basil, finished with soda. Cool, unique, and refreshing… just like the restaurant itself.