Denver restaurateur Mary Nguyen opens Little Finch on 16th Street Mall

The 16th Street Mall just got a bit more local. On Monday, Denver restaurateur Mary Nguyen opened Little Finch in the former Starbucks space at 1490 16th Street Mall.

Little Finch is the little sister to Olive & Finch, Nguyen’s all-day bakery and cafe in Uptown and Cherry Creek, although the new 2,500-square-foot space is bigger than its Uptown one. Nguyen called it Little Finch because there’s no full kitchen and a smaller menu than Olive & Finch.

It’s a European-style bistro, serving craft coffee and breakfast pastries in the morning, to-go sandwiches and salads, plus a rotating specialty menu with hot dishes like chicken pot pie, beef bourguignon, a Cuban sandwich, and brunch items on the weekends. There’s also desserts, like mini cakes, white chocolate covered homemade Twinkies, and macarons, plus refreshing cocktails and mocktails at night.

“We did a soft opening a few weeks ago, and learned a lot about what the neighborhood needs and wants,” Nguyen said. “The city is doing such an amazing job to reinvent 16th Street Mall. We were originally going to make it a takeout-style café, like the Starbucks used to be, but it’s really changed since then. I wanted to create a place where there’s no expectations.”

“There aren’t a lot of places where you can sit and work with a great glass of wine, and not feel like there’s an expectation to dress up like you do at a bar or restaurant, or order a ton of food,” she added. “Here you can come in and out quick and easy, grab a drink while you wait for a table at ChoLon, or sit here all day on your laptop.”

Little Finch is open everyday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. with happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. or all day Sunday, including cocktail specials and “Bottle & Bag” specials, where guests can select a bottle of wine plus a baguette with your choice of sardines, herbed cheese, artichoke dip or bruschetta toppings. There’s 50 seats inside the restaurant’s bright, airy atmosphere, and 32 outside on the Blake Street-side patio.

Before you get to the counter service, there’s a wall of retail items, including Little Finch merchandise and products from local vendors, like pickles, jams, hot sauces, hand towels, soaps and lotions.

Nguyen opened Olive & Finch’s first location at 1552 E. 17th Ave. in 2013 and a second in Cherry Creek in 2017. She also owns On The Fly, Olive & Finch’s commissary kitchen and wholesale business, in South Park Hill. Before this, she owned two other restaurants: Parallel Seventeen and Street Kitchen. Nguyen said she’s eyeing the Denver Tech Center, RiNo, LoHi and Boulder for more Olive & Finch and Little Finch expansion plans.

Little Finch: 1490 16th St. Mall., Denver; Open: Mon-Sun from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.;

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