Wondering where Denver's insiders are eating and drinking? It's easy to spot lines out the door, but some underlying trends are harder to see.
We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to uncover which restaurants have been most discussed this month.
To find out who made the list, we looked at Denver businesses on Yelp by category and counted how many reviews each received. Rather than compare them based on number of reviews alone, we calculated a percentage increase in reviews over the past month, and tracked businesses that consistently increased their volume of reviews to identify statistically significant outliers compared to past performance.
Read on to see which spots are extra cool this summer.
Open since last summer, this Mexican spot is trending compared to other businesses categorized as "Mexican" on Yelp.
Citywide, Mexican spots saw a median 1.7 percent increase in new reviews over the past month, but Hacienda Colorado saw a 23.8 percent increase, with a slight downward trend from a 4.5-star rating a month ago to four stars today. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis Hacienda Colorado's review count increased by more than 380 percent.
Located at 1550 Court Place in Central Business District, Hacienda Colorado has taken traditional Tex-Mex cuisine and infused it with a Rocky Mountain flavors to create what the business calls "Mountain Mex."
On the menu, look for the Mountain Mex burrito bowl with rice, black beans and chipotle aioli topped with avocado, lime crema, shredded lettuce, pico de gallo and a choice of grilled chicken, shrimp with pineapple and cucumber-jicama slaw, grilled steak and portobello mushrooms, or the Mountain Mex tacos with shredded pork carnitas topped with chipotle aioli, avocado, grilled pineapple, pico de gallo, cilantro and lime crema.
Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about Stapleton's Hashtag Restaurant, the well-established breakfast and brunch spot is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.
While businesses categorized as "Breakfast & Brunch" on Yelp saw a median 2 percent increase in new reviews over the past month, Hashtag Restaurant bagged a 6.8 percent increase in new reviews within that timeframe, maintaining a superior four-star rating. It significantly outperformed the previous month by gaining 2.3 times more reviews than expected based on its past performance.
Open at 10155 E. 29th Drive, Suite 120, since the summer of 2017, Hashtag Restaurant offers popular warm doughnut holes as a starter and for the main course the Colfax 'Wich with two soft scrambled eggs, bacon, monterey jack cheese and kale on a toasted bun; chingon breakfast tacos with chicken or vegetarian filling, three scrambled eggs, shredded cabbage and pico de gallo; and Maui Wowie hot cakes with pancakes, toasted coconut and macadamia nuts. (Click here for the menu.)
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
Central Business District's Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. is also making waves. Open since the winter of 2017 at 1437 California St., the popular seafood and Southern spot has seen a 4 percent bump in new reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 1.7 percent for all businesses tagged "Seafood" on Yelp. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.'s review count increased by more than 330 percent.
There's more than one hot spot trending in Denver's seafood category: Uchi has seen an 8.9 percent increase in reviews.
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. serves shrimp sandwiches, broiled and fried shrimp, shrimp with steak and the popular Shrimper's Heaven that includes coconut shrimp, bacon-wrapped shrimp and tempura shrimp. There are also fish, chicken and beef items on the menu. Over the past month, it's maintained a mixed three-star rating among Yelpers.