What does an up-and-coming chef in Denver theme a restaurant that was once a mortuary? An eatuary of course!
Yes, you heard that right. Billing itself as “Denver’s finest eatuary” Linger subtly takes many death-related associations and turns the macabre into memories. Gift certificates come in the form of toe tags. The drink menu is housed in a stainless steel medical chart. It’s an understated theme that cleverly pings you to pay attention in all the right ways.
Located in the Highlands in a building that was once Olinger Mortuary, the big blue neon sign above the former hearse garage now says “linger” and beckons to diners interested in stories shared over small plates and craft cocktails.
And that was exactly my experience at Linger. My first business trip of 2017 found me in Denver where my childhood best friend lives. We hadn’t seen each other since my wedding nine years ago, so I was more than a little excited for a chance to catch up with her.
Fortunately, after having known each other for more than 25 years, we picked right back up where we left off. Best of all, she knows my passion for food well enough to suggest we visit Linger.
We started with the Corpse Reviver cocktail ($11) made with gin, ginger liqueur, Lillet Blanc, lemon, absinthe (of course) and activated charcoal for the shimmering pitch-black presentation. An orchid—a flower of death is some cultures—rimmed the glass.
A Spanish gin and tonic ($11) brightened with lemon bitters was beautifully served in a wine glass with a lime wheel and orchid.
Vast expanses of windows on two levels deliver views of Denver’s skyline while cuisine from across the globe—primarily in the form of small plates or street food snacks hailing from Europe, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean—span the menu. We leaned Asian for much of the meal and sampled our way around the dining landscape.
The fried chicken bao buns ($5 each) brought us hot chicken topped with tangy kimchi along with a honey sambal and togarashi ranch.
Lemongrass pork potstickers ($10) delivered in a steam basket highlighted garlic and ginger dipped in a sweet soy sauce.
Korean BBQ tacos ($12) featured Wagyu short rib accented with a leek slaw and wasabi peas. A Gochujang aioli and fresh lime gave every bite balance.
And then there are the crickets. No, not as in it’s so quiet you can listen to crickets (it’s just the opposite in fact) but actual crickets on the menu at Linger. The high-protein snacks come in the form of cricket and cassava empanadas ($15) with a pickled cactus and tomatillo chutney. Perhaps not a bite for the faint-of-heart but plenty of conversation starters there nonetheless.
It’s those conversations that are at the heart of Linger—with old friends or new over drinks and good food in a thoughtful space.
2030 W. 30th Ave.
Denver, Colorado 80211