Dine & Dash takeover: This week, in tandem with our summer guide, we venture to Denver’s graffiti mural-rich River North Art District (RiNo). We sample a classic, a newbie and a one-of-its-kind in Colorado. This is just a snapshot from a very happening area with options aplenty.
Lekker, slang in Afrikaans for “great, tasty or fantastic” we learn, takes its RiNo location a step further with rhinoceros branding built around co-owner Kara Finkelstein’s time in South Africa volunteering at Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary, to whom they donate 10 percent of profits.
Good luck not shedding tears when watching the videos of baby rhinos that loop overhead in the very stylish café space. We love finding socially conscious businesses, but Lekker isn’t just about a feel-good, it delivers a taste-good too. Kara’s mom, Dawn Kaprielian is the other co-owner and she brings with her the legacy of more than 70 years of family history operating a bar in California; she ran it for a decade before moving to Denver to help launch Lekker, which boldly opened during the pandemic in October.
They use Novo Coffee, whose roastery is just blocks away, for their espresso and they’ve curated some health-minded ingredients to personalize drinks. For example Goldmine Adaptogen Powder (a blend of functional mushrooms, ashwagandha and rosehip) which informs our Stress Free Latte along with a typical double shot of espresso and steamed milk (we upcharge to oat milk).
It’s not a drink for purists who don’t want inherent aromas and flavors muted by a flavoring, but it’s definitely for anyone who enjoys a little earthy overtone to a hot milky coffee beverage, and anyone who could use a nutritional assist to deal with lingering pandemic-era tension/anxiety.
Our second drink, the Chagaccino, is a brand-named product made by Los Angeles-based Renude. Its focus is wild-foraged chaga mushrooms flavored with organic cacao and cinnamon and sweetened with monk fruit, to which your choice of milk (we go oat again) and a double-shot of espresso are blended, making for a phenomenal treat.