Restaurant editors at city magazines wield great power—and as we all know from Spider-Man, with great power comes great responsibility. When Denise Mickelsen took over as 5280’s food editor a year ago, she had well-defined ideas about how she wanted to helm the magazine’s culinary coverage. Some of what she’d be doing would follow the blueprint that had been laid out by Mickelsen’s predecessor, Amanda M. Faison, who steered our food coverage for 12 years. But some things would be different, and so far the biggest change concerned our annual guide to the best restaurants in the region: Mickelsen was clear that she wasn’t inclined to rank the eateries from one to 25. “I don’t think Denverites use the list that way,” she says. “They want to know which restaurants are truly great—whether casual or formal—and the one they choose on a particular evening is dependent upon what kind of experience they want to have, not its rank on our list.” It was a substantial shift, but one that made perfect sense. Ranked lists are buzzy, and they can help make—or break—a restaurant, especially if it’s new. But our food and drink reporting isn’t for the restaurants themselves, or the industry as a whole. It’s for our readers, who look to us to guide them to the most memorable meals, the most capable service, and the best overall dining experiences in Denver and beyond. Take a look at our feature, which begins on page 80, and I think you’ll see the care with which Mickelsen has assembled her first “25 Best Restaurants.” It’s a job she didn’t take lightly, and the result is the quintessential guide to Denver dining—whether you’re heading out for a special occasion or just don’t feel like cooking on a Tuesday night.