Change is in the air here in Denver. Not only is a winter chill finally starting to settle in but some unexpected shifts are happening in the culinary world. First, a popular weekly flea market and beer garden is leaving the hip RiNo neighborhood to join a new development in Aurora. Next, an unlikely tenant will temporarily occupy Lower48’s modern and minimalistic space in the Ballpark area. Also, a two decade Thanksgiving tradition is kept alive, but not by its original founders. Want to know who will carry the torch? Read on to find out.

The Big Wonderful Joins Stanley Marketplace

Stanley Marketplace Denver Colorado

Stanley Marketplace.

Where: 2501 Dallas St, Aurora

The Low Down: Come next summer, TheBigWonderful—a trendy outdoor flea market and beer garden—will relocate from its River North spot at Sustainability Park to the forthcoming Stanley Marketplace in Aurora. The move comes after the decision to develop the park into affordable housing. This shift from Denver to Aurora is not unheard of at Stanley as many of the tenants, such as Rosenberg’s Bagels and Comida, also have roots in the city’s capital.

“This area of northwest Aurora is becoming something of a hot spot, and we are honored to be a part of that,”said Bryant Palmer, “Chief Storyteller” for Stanley Marketplace.  “One of our main aims is to give people fun and forward-thinking ways to enjoy life with family and friends, and the Big Wonderful certainly does that.”

Opening in early 2016, the Stanley Marketplace will be a massive retail and event space that is situated on 22-acres inside an 100,000-square-foot airplane hangar that was once home to the headquarters of Stanley Aviation.  Over the last several months, the development has welcomed new tenants including a slew of restaurants and retail. According to its founders, it plans to be the new community hub for the bustling Aurora/Stapleton area. 

El Toro the Tot Takes over Lower48

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Lower48. Photo by Glenn Ross.

Where: 2020 Lawrence St, Denver

The Low Down: Shortly after it announced that it will close its doors, Lower48 reported the restaurant space will be temporarily occupied by El Toro the Tot through the end of the year. The food truck will use the space starting the November 23 and will serve its Spanish-American burgers and “stuffed” tater tots Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Also next door, its former bar has been transformed into The Inventing Room, a catering business specializing in unique sweets that now calls the location home to its first dessert shop and “lab.” As for Lower 48, no plans yet for another venture. But if you want one last taste of their modern American cuisine, the restaurant is taking reservations for holiday parties.

Squeaky Bean Feeds the Hungry for Thanksgiving

The Squeaky Bean.

The Squeaky Bean.

Where: 1500 Wynkoop St #101, Denver

The Low Down: For two decades, Rosa Linda’s had a tradition. Every year the restaurant would serve thousands of people a free meal on Thanksgiving. Recently Rosa Linda’s closed, and the fate of the annual event was uncertain. Luckily, the Squeaky Bean, an acclaimed downtown eatery specializing in fresh, local fare, decided to take up the task. Dubbed “Feed” the event is in partnership with Warren Tech, a school where the restaurant currently runs and operates a farm called “Bean Acres.” The goal is to serve 3,000 complimentary turkey dinners.

“Those that are hungry with or without family should have a good, hot, made-with-love meal to eat for Thanksgiving,” said The Squeaky Bean partner, Joshua Olsen.  “We just couldn’t bear to let these people down, even for one year.”  

Currently, The Squeaky Bean is in need of volunteers to help prep and serve on Thanksgiving. Those interested will get the chance to rub elbows with Denver top chefs as Paul Reilly, Theo Adley, Justin Brunson, Lon Symensma, Max MacKissock and Kelly Whitaker have all agreed to help. To sign-up to participate, call The Squeaky Bean at 303.623.2665 or email [email protected].