Today’s “Ladies Who Lunch”

It’s the pinnacle of the day – lunchtime. Some sip a smoothie en route to the office after a workout. Some eat at their desks, lest they lose a single moment of productivity. Some see lunch as social time, catching up on the latest with friends and frenemies.

But many others use the mid-day break to make important connections, broker deals, and further careers. Whereas the satirical song, “The Ladies Who Lunch” from Stephen Sondheim’s Company (playing the Buell Theatre, May 22-June 2, 2024) is a comment on ladies of leisure who spend their time socializing while wasting their unrealized potential, today’s ladies who lunch are literally taking care of business. And these restaurants are sure to set you up for success. As the song says, “I’ll drink to that.”

Message: Let’s take a deep breath, get zen, and envision something mutually beneficial.

A statue found inside the Boulder Dunshabe Teahouse of seven women.

Fountain of the Seven Sisters. Photo courtesy Boulder Dushnabe Teahouse

Place: Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, Boulder
What to expect: The gathering place was built by artisans in Dushanbe, Tajikistan for Boulder to celebrate its sister city status, with intricate hand-carved and hand-painted touches. The garden-like interior is serene. A varied menu includes Indian Samosas, Mediterranean Salad, Malaysian Sambal Curry and Shish Kabob. Linger over a cup of their award-winning Teahouse Chai.

Message: We can take the heat while working together for a common solution.

Place: Dae Gee Korean BBQ, Aurora, Denver, Ft. Collins, Westminster
What to expect: Cooking together is a bonding, unifying experience and that’s what you do with the Unlimited BBQ option. Cook up various proteins on the table-top grill. Then dress it up with various sides, and enclose it all in lettuce leaves. If that’s a little too hands-on (and you don’t want to have to cook your own lunch), there are many other options. The Bee Beem Bhop bowls are the most popular, with meat, veggies and various accoutrements.

Photo courtesy Guard & Grace

Message: We can get real, get our hands dirty, and make this happen.

Place: GQ BBQ, Lakewood, Lonetree, Westminster
What to Expect: Plan an early lunch because when the Q is gone, it’s gone. Order food by the pound (or portions thereof) and sides to share or get a sandwich. Whether it’s pork, turkey, ribs, pit smoked beans, or apple coleslaw, lunch gets real here. Grab a bunch of napkins and let go of all pretenses.

Message: Is it still a man’s world though?

Place: Guard & Grace, downtown Denver
What to expect: The slightly buttoned-up, elegant atmosphere sets the stage for business but the menu says anything goes. From Oak Grilled Octopus for a starter to options like Vietnamese Steak Salad, Hot Chicken Sandwich and a variety of cuts and type of steak, the food conveys a power lunch you can have a good time with.

Photo courtesy Le Bilboquet

Message: We’re ready for business wherever it may take us.

Place: Le Bilboquet, Cherry Creek North
What to expect: Settle into a lusciously blue velvet banquette, enjoying fresh flowers and vibrant art all around. Will it be The Nicoise Salad, Burgundy Snails, the Cajun Chicken, or the Striped Bass? There’s a world of options for lunch and weekend brunch.

Message: When we stick together, we succeed.

Place: Le French, DTC and Denver
What to Expect: Take a cue from the Senegalese French sisters who own these bistros, and set a tone of cooperation and loyalty. Lunch or weekend brunch on shareable poutine variations or cheese & charcuterie plus French onion soup, quiche, and savory or sweet crepes.

Le French. Photo by Rachel Adams

Message: We have the competitive edge and are real pros.

Place: The Edge in The Four Seasons Hotel Denver (downtown)
What to Expect: This sleek restaurant catacorner from downtown’s Arts Complex knows its audience. While you can order a la carte items including the Seafood Cobb, Edge Smashburger or Spicy Poke Bowl, the weekday three-course Edge Power Hour Lunch seems the logical choice. Options there include Fire Roasted Tomato Soup, Tamari Salmon and Chicken Milanese. Finish with a housemade Chocolate Chip Cookie. Weekend brunch brings a la carte options and buffet.

Photo courtesy The Fire Restaurant

Message: From here, the view is clear and bright.

Place: The Fire Restaurant & Lounge at The Art Hotel Denver, Curio Collection by Hilton
What to Expect: A stone’s throw from Denver’s Central Business and Theater Districts, and with bustling Broadway below, lunch in this artsy atmosphere is an impressive experience. Whether inside, taking in the floor-to-ceiling views, or on the patio warmed by the firepit, the pared down menu has something for everyone from Fire Spiced Wings to a Grilled Chicken Club, or Kale Salad to which you can add chicken, shrimp, salmon or steak. Lunch runs into Happy Hour, starting at 3 for food and drink deals.

The Ponti. Photo by Matt Howshar

Message: Get creative with the art of the deal.

Place: The Ponti at the Denver Art Museum
What to expect: The menu was envisioned by entrepreneur and chef Jennifer Jasinski, who is a James Beard Foundation award-winner and owner of Rioja, Bistro Vendôme, Stoic & Genuine, and Ultreia restaurants. The Ponti prides itself on local sourcing, with an emphasis on vegetables, heirloom legumes and grains, handmade pasta, fish and meat. Enjoy lunch or weekend brunch, then continue the conversation strolling through the Museum, letting creative ideas flow.

(Ponti Picture)