Want to discover places only the locals know about? Longtime Denverite Bill Husted introduces you to this hidden gem:
The Denver dining scene has exploded in the past decade, with nationally recognized eateries opening on every corner. Expensive and somewhat precious, Denver restaurants are to be reckoned with. Ask any foodie.
But one mess hall has been serving up exactly the same simple grub since 1973 to hundreds of people every night (except Mondays). On Mothers Day and Easter they serve more than 3,000. That’s a lotta fried chicken.
Yup, fried chicken. Finger lickin’ chicken at White Fence Farm. Sitting on an eight-acre spread in Lakewood, a short drive from downtown Denver, this extra family-friendly eatery keeps it simple. Oh it serves salmon and the obligatory steak – but people come here for the fried chicken and the sides. The chicken comes piled high, a sizzling plateful the size of your head, almost impossible to finish. And the sides keep coming, bowls of bean salad, coleslaw, cottage cheese, pickled beets, hot corn fritters, chicken gravy, potatoes mashed, French fried and baked. This is all so homey and genuine you think Tom Saw- yer is your waiter.
WFF is run by legendary Denver restaurateur Craig Caldwell. For de- cades he operated sports bars like Brooklyn’s, checking IDs and planning Happy Hours. Now at WWF it’s always Happy Hour with families and friends pouring in for that familiar chicken.
If there’s a wait, no one seems to mind. They literally like to wait because they’re on the farm and there’s plenty to do. Dancing to a live band, petting the three goats, squeezing the balloon animals, chasing the geese, watching the model trains, climbing the tree house, eating the fudge, posing for the period photographs – even bellying up to the bar for a drink.
This is not your usual tourist destination. This is its own little corny world from yesterday. Work up an appetite and a sense of humor. White Fence Farm has a chicken with your name on it.