Feature

Web Exclusive: Top of the Town All-Stars

Every year, new winners are drafted into 5280's Top of the Town, while others are traded out. These champs, though, are playing for keeps.

By
July 2008

Click here for a small sampling of the nearly 200 winners that comprise this year's Top of the Town. Pick up a copy of our July issue for the full bounty from our latest roundup of Denver's best stuff.

5280's all-star team is a compilation of the most frequent winners throughout Top of the Town's history. Those that have made the final cut have won more than a dozen awards since the first contest, in 1997.

Nordstrom (41 Readers' Choice; 6 Editors' Choice)

This all-inclusive all-star has nabbed so many Top of the Town awards that keeping track of them all warrants a department-store-sized spreadsheet. We've been toasting Nordstrom for the past eleven years, and the praise is still flowing. The roaring Top Customer Service accolades are rivaled only by nominations for smart, diverse merchandising: women's clothing, menswear, fashion jewelry, gifts for friends. What could possibly top that winning combination? Actually, shoes, shoes, and more shoes — for men, women, and children. Multiple locations, www.nordstrom.com

Wash Park (15 Readers' Choice; 5 Editors' Choice)

It's no secret that Denverites live to play outside, and our all-time favorite urban playground is Wash Park. What started out as readers' Top Place for a Picnic quickly evolved into both editors and readers flocking to the lush expanse for pick-up hoops, volleyball, playground time with the tikes, and simple relaxation. Wash Park has relieved us as a Top Place to Break Up and turned our heads toward its Top Girl-Watching opportunities. 1000 S. Downing St., 303-698-4962 (rec center)

The Cherry Cricket (16 Readers' Choice; 3 Editors' Choice)

Of all the burger joints in all the neighborhoods of the city, we keep walking into this one. And it's not just for the burgers (although the Cherry Creek mainstay has claimed Top Burger nearly a dozen times). Awards for Top Hole in the Wall, Top Green Chile, Top Buffalo Wings, Top Onion Rings, and Top Beers on Tap keep us going back to the Cricket. 2641 E. Second Ave., 303-322-7666, www.cherrycricket.com

Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House (17 Readers' Choice; 2 Editors' Choice)

In a city where uninitiated carnivores can become burdened with options, Del Frisco's has quieted the noise by diversifying its winnings. What started as a Top Steak House pick from the readers in 1997 has grazed in the pastures of Top Wine List, Top Onion Rings, Top Martini, Top Waitstaff, and Top Cocktail, all while maintaining readers' choice for its savory steaks. 8100 E. Orchard Rd., Greenwood Village, 303-572-8146, www.delfriscos.com/denver

Pete's Kitchen (17 Readers' Choice; 2 Editors' Choice)

There's one place that rules the a.m. hours in Denver. Among the shout-outs we've bellowed over the years are Top Breakfast, Top Late-Night Eats, Top Bargain Meal, Top Breakfast Burrito, Top Place to Nurse a Hangover, Top Grilled Cheese, Top Hash Browns, Top Milkshake, and Top Diner. The variety makes Pete's Kitchen the most diverse all-star on the team. 1962 E. Colfax Ave., 303-321-3139, www.petesrestaurantstoo.com/petesKitchen.html

Starbucks (19 Readers' Choice)

After three years and five awards that spanned Top Coffeehouse, Top Brewed Coffee, and Top Espresso Drinks, editors pleaded with readers back in 2000 to "break free from the chains and sample some of the local coffee out there". But caffeine is a hard habit to kick, and readers remained faithful to the pervasive brand, adding tea (hot and iced) to their favored Starbucks jolts in subsequent years. Multiple locations, www.starbucks.com

Wynkoop Brewing Company (12 Readers' Choice; 4 Editors' Choice)

With its mover-and-shaker ambience, tournament-sized pool tables, and house-brewed Railyard Ale, the top has never been far off for this LoDo establishment. Denver's darling brewpub took a Top of the Town hiatus for four years, from 2004 to 2007, and still makes the all-star team. The editors revive the tradition this year with a Top BrewPub award. Go ahead — call it a comeback. 1634 18th St., 303-297-2700, www.wynkoop.com

TallGrass Aveda Salon and Spa (11 Readers' Choice; 4 Editors' Choice)

A true spa is a destination in its own right, and editors first doted on TallGrass in 1999 for bringing paradise to Denver's backyard. The Evergreen-based Top Spa has also elicited applause for its first-class services, from manicures and facials to massage. The innovative retreat inspired wins in creative categories, as well, such as Top Unusual Spa Treatment and Top Spa Treatment. 997 Upper Bear Creek Road, Evergreen, 303-670-4444, www.tallgrassspa.com.

Sushi Den (10 Readers' Choice; 4 Editors' Choice)

That Denver's hottest sushi joint is an embodiment of cool hasn't been lost on 5280 readers and editors. But the fresh fish at this über-trendy favorite rules the ratings. Rolling out wins for Top Tofu Dish and Top Ceviche in the past has helped propel this South Pearl sweetheart to all-star fame. 1487 S. Pearl St., 303-777-0826, www.sushiden.net

Bonnie Brae Ice Cream (11 Readers' Choice; 2 Editors' Choice)

Long lines didn't deter editors from first presenting the old-fashioned ice-cream parlor with Top Ice Cream in 1999 or dissuade readers from helping it sustain the honor ever since. Over the years, the rich, homemade goodness has been spun into Top Milkshake and has anchored wins for Top Ice Cream Sundae as well. 799 S. University Blvd., 303-777-0808, www.bonniebraeicecream.com

Wheat Ridge Cyclery (7 Readers' Choice; 6 Editors' Choice)

No other all-star accounts for as much reader-editor accord as Wheat Ridge Cyclery. Our love for everything bicycle merges in this well-wheeled wonderland, which has harmonized acclaim for Top Bicycles or Top Bike Shop on five distinct occasions since 2001. 7085 W. 38th Ave., Wheat Ridge, 303-424-3221, www.ridewrc.com