I am a Denver native and I always get asked the same question: “When are you moving to New York?” or “Don’t you want to get out of Denver? The restaurant scene is so much better in New York City.”
While this might be true and maybe one day I will move, my response is always the same: “I love Denver the way it is.”
People might hold this assumption that Denver needs to become something else, but the truth is our city is perfect for one reason. We are perpetually young.
The fact we will always be the city that ‘almost was’ makes us exciting. People come here because they expect us to be that next big thing. They hear reports from major publications, like Forbes, saying Denver is one of fastest growing cities in the u.s. and is one of the best places to live in your twenties. And although this might make someone think we will be the new Chicago, what they don’t know is it will never happen. Rather we will forever be on these lists as the next in line but we won’t really ever make it. This was true for my generation, my parent’s generation and even my grandparent’s generation. Hell, it has always been this way even starting with the gold rush. But in the end it is good news for Denverities and for myself as a magazine editor because it keeps our city stocked with two essentials:1. Opportunity 2. Youth/ people looking to start a new life.
These two things really make for a great culture and a lot of good food because so many different voices start to contribute. I even started my work with 303 cataloguing all the different cultures that made Denver their new home. Just within a few months I wrote almost 30 articles on the subject and I still didn’t even scratch the surface of what is out there.
But I really enjoyed exploring Denver because you can find a lot that is still relatively undiscovered. I know from experience and so do my fellow writers. Some of my favorite places are already prevalent though, like The Populist; a hip, RiNo, restaurant that is churning out some amazing food in one of Denver’s youngest neighborhoods. It is easily one of my favorite places to visit because they produce deliciously innovative food, which is sometimes our city’s weakness. Other than the populist, I really like weird spots around town such as the random Caribbean restaurants on East Colfax or several of the popular Ethiopian restaurants. Of course one of my absolute favorite’s is Tocabe, the native American restaurant in the highlands. I love them because their food is amazing and they are original–not just for Denver but for anywhere in the world. And yes I know they were on Diners, Drive-inns and Dives, but they really are a true gem for this city and they deserve the recognition. If you have any friends come from out of town this is where you should take them for a unique experience, not Casa Bonita (unless you love food poisoning).
Overall, I love Denver because it’s NOT New York or L.A., it’s Denver. If ever it does become the new new york, it’ll be it’s own thing. But for now it is totally enough for me. Hope you can enjoy it with us because we have a lot to say about this wonderful city. Just keep reading and we’ll promise to help you explore everything we have to offer.