Mango House food hall in Aurora showcases delicious diversity

Editor’s note: This is part of The Know’s series, Staff Favorites. Each week, we offer our opinions on the best that Colorado has to offer for dining, shopping, entertainment, outdoor activities and more. (We’ll also let you in on some hidden gems).

Denver’s food scene has endured extreme highs and lows in recent weeks, from bittersweet closures to the state’s first Michelin-starred eateries.

But in Aurora, eating out is often more about the affordable, modest comforts of home than impressing out-of-state judges or holding down high-profile real estate in hip neighborhoods.

A sterling example — and one that blows away most food halls for diversity and authenticity (yes, I know the latter can be a problematic term) — is the nonprofit Mango House. Founded 12 years ago by Dr. P.J. Parmar, the hulking pair of buildings at 10180 E. Colfax Ave. hold refugee-focused healthcare, shops, religious and social services, and events.

At the center is a food court with discounted leases for refugees, whether they’re from Somalia, Ethiopia, Nepal or elsewhere. On a visit a few months ago, I was one of the first customers at a Nepalese stall that had just opened that morning (and has since moved on), whose Chicken Momo and samosas filled my life meter to the brim.

My wife loves the popular Jasmine Syrian Restaurant (which she’s also turned into a carryout favorite), and I went back again for Burmese food (Urban Burma). Along with Aurora’s incredible Latino, Ethiopian, Korean and Soul food, it’s a great reason to visit our neighbor to the east at least once a week.

The traditions at Mango House are expressed in a variety of familiar and mouth-watering dishes, and their small counters and tight staffs are geared toward takeout — whether you’re plunking down at one of the central hall tables or elsewhere. As kids play and swirl and the faint, mesmerizing scent of incense and cooking spices perfume the air, one can’t help but feel part of something larger and unabashedly beautiful, whatever their background.

Most of the restaurants are open for lunch and dinner daily, and Natoli Coffee (Ethiopian) is open for breakfast at 8 a.m. See for the full roster and menus.

Subscribe to our new food newsletter, Stuffed, to get Denver food and drink news sent straight to your inbox.

Source: Read Full Article