Wishful Thinking

Our 18 wishes—ranging from realistic to far-fetched—for making Denver an even dreamier place to live.

January 2014



Wish7A more varied food scene within Denver city limits

We’re Starving For… 

Good Chinese takeout. We can think of exactly one excellent Chinese spot: Chef Liu’s Authentic Chinese Cuisine—touted as Denver’s best by Top Chef (and Denverite) Travis Masar—and it’s all the way out in Aurora, which kind of defeats the purpose of quick and easy food to-go. It’d be great if, along with some new Chinese spots, some of our wonderful Vietnamese, Thai, and Korean places, many of which are dotted along Federal or in Aurora, could establish more central satellite operations.

More old-school Italian. We love the handful of red-checkered-tablecloth restaurants (Patsy’s, Saucy Noodle), but we sure miss the more varied options we had before Mikey’s and Pagliacci’s closed.

Locally made sake. We’ve got (arguably) one of the best sushi spots in the country (Sushi Den), and we make everything else with an ABV, so why not sake? (Denver’s last sake venture, Hakushika, moved back to Japan in 2000.)

Real NYC bagels. It’s a serious breakfast-time bummer that Denver bakers can’t perfect these boiled rings of dough. Noted exception: Rosenberg’s bagels, which are sold at Gather. Rosenberg’s owner, Josh Pollack, makes dough and boils his bagels in H²0 with a mineral content similar to that of New York’s.

Intimate dining spaces. We long for more cozy restaurant options—warm, intimate places with fewer than 40 tables where you’re not just a recipient of the meal, but also a part of the process (or, at least, you can’t help but see it).

Local salumiere. When renowned salumiere Mark DeNittis’ Salumeria Cinque Soldi (and Il Mondo Vecchio) was still running, we could walk in and pick up cured meat. Not anymore—and it’s a glaring omission in one of the country’s livestock capitals. Now, the only way to get your fix is at Luca D’Italia, aka no buying to take home. (That salumi program will soon expand to Frank Bonanno’s other restaurants when his newest spot, Salt & Grinder, opens.)

Semipermanent food cart pods. Part of the purpose of a food cart is convenience. And it’s not convenient to have to chase tasty treats like Quiero Arepas and Manna from Heaven around via social media. A city ordinance prevents food trucks from setting up in areas on a semipermanent basis (meaning they have to pack up daily), which is not only annoying for wannabe diners, but also prevents purveyors from doing things like smoking their own meats. Let’s ditch the restriction.