Spankys Roadhouse

Spanky’s Roadhouse Isn’t Just for College Kids Anymore

Caroline Kennedy | March 27, 2019 | 303 Magazine

When Dan Shipp and his brothers purchased Spanky’s Roadhouse in 1991 Denver’s restaurant scene was very different from today. The local bar & restaurant was one of a few places to go in the DU neighborhood and attracted mostly college students and faculty. “In 1991 there were only a couple places to go, now there are a dozen casual places,” said Dan. Spanky’s quickly became known as a “DU bar” where college students would go on weekends.

But as Denver started to become more and more of a “transplant city” Spanky’s began to notice a shift in its clientele, “we cater to families, students, everybody” explained Dan. The new customers began asking for small changes and shortly after Spanky’s decided it needed to revamp the place. It opened up the space by knocking down a few walls, added garage doors that open up to a covered, open-air patio and changed the menu to include more entrees, burgers and salads.

All of Spanky’s beef is grass-fed, the veggies are cut fresh daily and it even offers the Impossible Burger and a paleo bowl along with several salads, sandwiches and soups. Overall, the burger selection is better than ever with six signature burgers including the famous Porky and five roadhouse classic burgers like the Black & Blue and southwest and the huge “monster burgers.” You can also build your own with either a quarter pound or a half pound of Colorado hormone-free beef or all natural chicken breast, seven different cheeses and a plethora of mouth-watering toppings. There are even gluten-free and lettuce bun options for those who want to switch it up or have dietary restrictions.

If brunch is your jam there are several new items on that menu as well. The red velvet pancakes, Hangover Helper and Tennessee hot chicken Benedict are a few new favorites in addition to the traditional selection of hashes, omelettes and crepes.

Happy Hour is from 3-6 p.m. and on weekends the brunch menu includes bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys for just $11. The decadent milkshakes that Spanky’s is known for are still on the menu too. Now there are over 19 different ingredients to customize your own or choose from their signature shakes including Cinnamon Toast Crunch and chocolate chip peanut butter. “We want to keep the food fresh and interesting for our guests, but we also want them to know that they can always find their old favorites here,” explained Chef Justin Adrian.

As the Denver restaurant scene continues to expand, so do the projects of Spanky’s parent company — Roadhouse Hospitality Group. The group recently partnered with Great Divide Brewing to open up a brewery and eatery in Castle Rock. The new spot will add to the group’s growing list of restaurants in Denver, Boulder, Keystone and Eagle County.

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Brunch of the Week: Give It the Ol’ College Try at Spanky’s Roadhouse

Bridget Wood / Westword

Spanky’s Roadhouse has long had a “college bar” reputation because of its close proximity to the University of Denver. That reputation may hold true on weekdays and packed Friday nights, but brunch attracts a more diverse crowd. From a build-your-own drink bar to inventive dishes and classic favorites, Spanky’s can entertain all comers.

Spanky’s isn’t content with pouring you the same old orange-juice mimosas; instead, you have a choice of five juices — orange, cranberry, grapefruit, pineapple or mango, plus a rotating weekly special — all for only $11 bottomless. Last week’s special was fruit punch, but general manager Katie Kingston says she plans on changing the flavor every week to keep patrons on their toes. Just step up to the mimosa bar and mix and match; servers come around with pitchers of sparkling wine to top you off.

To continue the fruity theme, I started brunch with peaches and cream French toast. These slabs are built with thick-cut Texas toast, so the interior stays moist while the coating is just a little crunchy. They were covered in sweet mascarpone cream and diced peaches; the portion is generous and hearty enough to soak up multiple rounds of mimosas. The dish also comes with a choice of three syrups: maple, blueberry and strawberry.

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Spanky's Jam Burger

Spanky’s New Look

Spanky’s most recent inclusion in The Denver Business Journal’s article titled, Full Plate: This Week’s Denver Area Restaurant News.

Spanky’s Roadhouse, a longtime University of Denver dive bar, has revamped its look and its menu, offering up “sleek and contemporary finishes” and more health-minded food options — but keeping a variety of bust-your-gut burgers available to signify it hasn’t forgotten its roots.

Spanky’s Roadhouse’s jam burger is topped with applewood bacon, brie, bacon onion apple jam and arugula. The 27-year-old hangout, part of the Roadhouse Hospitality Group, rebooted its 2,500-square-foot space and open-air patio to make it a relaxing space for families and greater Denverites as well as students. The menu revamp includes entrée salads and a paleo bowl but also options like the Jam Burger (pictured), featuring applewood bacon, brie, bacon onion apple jam and arugula

Denver's Best Chicken Wings

Denver’s Ten Best Chicken Wings!

If you have any history with the decades-old Spanky’s Roadhouse near the University of Denver, you may think of it as a simple college dive bar. That’s no longer the case: The space and menu have both undergone a complete overhaul in the past few years, and one of the house specialties is wings. With nine sauces and/or rubs to choose from, you could be there all day sampling flavors. However, follow our lead and stick with the sweet and spicy sesame sauce. It’s a perfect marriage of classic American-Chinese food and pub culture. The chicken itself is plump and juicy, making for a fulfilling wing.

If you want to balance the richness of the sesame chicken wings, consider also ordering a plate of dry-rubbed wings coated in a spice mixture that chef Justin Adrian created with the local company Spice Guys just for Spanky’s.

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