Denver, CO

Sam’s No. 3 fills up hungry Denverites

David Heitz

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Photo/Sam's No. 3

When I lived in Glendale, I ate almost every single meal at Sam’s No. 3.

Sam’s No. 3 is perhaps the cleanest diner in the country. It is shockingly clean, as I always said when I would frequent its Glendale location.

This diner is a place where people do business as much as they make small talk. The hum of Sam’s No. 3 comes from busy people. That includes everything from families busy having fun to co-workers making merry after a deadline.

Sam’s has three locations around the Denver metropolitan area: Downtown, on Cherry Street in Glendale, and on Havana in Aurora. All locations have the same comfort food that will make your mouth water endlessly.

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Sam's No. 3's Glendale location is cleaner than a whistle.Photo/Sam's No. 3

I love diners. I could be happy eating at Village Inn all three meals a day, too. But Sam’s No. 3’s menu is vast compared to Village Inn’s.

Sam’s is not just some greasy spoon that aims for the middle. Sure, Sam’s has pancakes and burgers, like any diner should. But they’ve also got “Spero” burritos, named after the original owner. And their own famous Green chili, a Colorado favorite.

Several Greek dishes at Sam’s are delicious. The Greek burrito is one of my favorites.

There are fun coffee drinks for those who don’t imbibe. I relapsed from sobriety at Sam’s. I don’t remember them having all the amazing coffee drinks they do now, like the Van Halen latte.

Sam’s No. 3’s Glendale bar is fun, inviting

Being new to Denver upon moving from Illinois to Glendale, I was drawn to the active, fun bar at Sam’s. I had just inherited money from my dad. I thought I was a millionaire (I was not) and rather foolishly spent a lot of money eating out and on other whims. In fact, there were many days I would eat at Sam’s for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus spend time in the bar. I dopped a boatload of money there.

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Sam's No. 3 is overflowing with personality.Photo/Sam's No. 3

Needless to say, I’ve tried a lot of their dishes. Where’s the best Aurora omelet for breakfast in Aurora? At Sam’s, complete with the signature Polish sausage.

As for the Denver omelet? If you want one in Denver, make it an “Avalanche Omelet” from Sam’s. This omelet contains bacon, onion, bell pepper and American cheese. But Sam’s has the original Denver omelet, too.

While Sam’s sticks to all things delectable as opposed to worrying about the waistline, the restaurant makes an attempt at a healthy choice. It’s called the High Maintenance Gluten-Dairy Friendly skillet. Breakfast potatoes, sauteed onions, mushrooms, and bell peppers. Topped with avocado slices. Yum.

Sam’s menu is vast, portions are large

Besides omelets and skillets, Sam’s also offers several varieties of eggs benedict.

Appetizers range from cheese curds to macho nachos. You can order salads galore. My choice is the Cowboy Caesar, which comes with sliced steak, red onion, blue cheese crumble and parmesan cheese.

You can order anything from a gyro (which I highly recommend) to a ribeye steak at Sam’s.

In short, Sam’s menu isn’t. It’s a huge selection of hearty foods you never would have thought to try together.

So, who thought up the goodness Denver knows and loves calls Sam’s?

“Sam’s No.3 name and foods have been a Denver staple since 1927 when Sam Armatas, an immigrant from Lefkada, Greece, opened on Curtis Street in downtown Denver,” according to the restaurant’s website. “Spero (son of Sam), Alex, Patrick, and Sam (grandsons) re-established their first brick and mortar Sam’s No.3 in Aurora in 1998, in downtown Denver—back on Curtis Street and across the Street from the original location, in 2003, and in Glendale in 2013.”

Where to find Sam’s

Downtown Denver: 1500 Curtis St. Telephone (303)534-1927. Order for takeout or delivery online at SamsNo3.com

Glendale: 435 S. Cherry St. Telephone (303)333-4333. Order for takeout or delivery online at SamsNo3.com.

Aurora: 2580 S. Havana St. Telephone (303)751-0347. Order for takeout or delivery online at SamsNo3.com

I would go so far as to say Sam’s may just be the best restaurant in Denver. It already calls itself “Denver’s best diner.” The food is delicious, and the portions are generous.

And everyone always is having a good time at Sam’s No. 3. The only bad thing about Sam’s is that its locations aren’t open 24 hours per day. A series of events has left Denver without an all-night diner.

#HiddenGems

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I have been in the news business more than 30 years, spending much of my career at some of the best newspapers in the country. Today, I specialize in Denver local news, health reporting, social justice issues, addiction/recovery/mental health news, and topics surrounding homelessness and human trafficking.

Denver, CO
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