3927 W. 32nd Ave.
Denver, CO 80212
It did not take much arm-twisting to convince the Docket Committee to welcome the arrival of Colorado’s resplendent summer season with a bar review on a sparkling day in May. We chose Solitaire, a comfortably classy and intimate restaurant in Denver’s West Highlands neighborhood that boasts a garden-enclosed patio, where a cool breeze and sun-dappled chairs awaited.
Although Solitaire is a relatively new addition to the restaurant scene (it opened in April 2015), it draws from a rich and storied history in Denver. Chef and Co-Owner Mark Ferguson is the great-great-grandson of Chester Stephen Morey, a Civil War veteran who developed the Solitaire food company in Denver in the early 1900s. Morey built the Morey Mercantile Building near 16th and Wazee in 1896 and later acquired the Lee Building across the street. Morey installed sales offices for his Solitaire brand of food products on the Lee Building’s first floor, and the second floor housed the cooks who tested his recipes that were later published in the popular Solitaire High Altitude Cookbook.
The culinary tradition continues at Solitaire restaurant in exquisite fashion. The ever-changing menu features an array of fine dining options that reflect seasonal flavors and inspirations. For happy hour, our group enjoyed mozzarella en carozza with fennel salami (imagine fantastically scrumptious mini-omelette bites), shishito peppers and sourdough tempura rock shrimp. Each dish was delicious and gracefully presented. However, what really set the food apart were the details in flavor — delectable, sometimes spicy and creatively combined. Even the roasted nuts and marinated olives had zesty pizzazz. Perusing further down the menu to cocktails and dinner, Solitaire offers similarly inventive and well-crafted choices. But bottom line: Yum! Solitaire definitely lives up to its billing as a “diversified eatery,” and new and returning patrons alike will have something special to look forward to on its menu.
The atmosphere on Solitaire’s sun-dappled patio was a delight. Solitaire’s location used to be the home of the iconic Highland Garden Café, and trees, vines and fragrant blossoms still surround the patio. Enriching conversation and genuine relaxation ensued as we donned our sunglasses, lounged in cushioned wicker chairs, and sipped on happy hour wines and cocktails. With sunny skies and a slight balmy breeze, the weather could not have been better.
The atmosphere inside the restaurant felt similarly inviting, comfortable and unpretentiously splendid. The restaurant is housed in two connected Victorian houses, and the interior renovations created unique dining nooks and spaces for different groups and occasions. Although the utterly perfect weather made our outdoor experience hard to resist and all the more enjoyable and refreshing, Solitaire’s scenic garden setting and tailored menus make it a restaurant fit for any season.
Solitaire offers a winning combination of superb food, beverages and atmosphere. It’s a lovely place to meet with friends and colleagues. Their all-night happy hours Tuesday through Thursday are sure to make it a place worth trying out this summer. D
Eden Rolland is a 2015 graduate of the University of Colorado Law School and is currently a Litigation Fellow at the Denver City Attorney’s Office. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.