ChatGPT is the talk of the town, and depending on your views on technology—and the chatbot’s possible impacts on your career—you’re probably fascinated or terrified by it. One thing’s for sure: Artificial intelligence is more advanced than ever.

Here’s some background: ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence chatbot from OpenAI released for free public use in November 2022 (an upgraded, paid version was released in February). The program’s algorithm is built to take any text inputted by a human user and spit out an appropriate response—from a 12-step guide to screwing in a light bulb to an essay on Einstein’s theory of relativity. Through repeated training on a vast database of licensed and publicly available digital text, and subsequent fine-tuning according to human and computer-generated feedback, ChatGPT is able to produce more and more sophisticated responses that are eerily cogent.

But how much does it really know about niche topics like, say, Denver’s food scene? We spoke with ChatGPT to learn just what the program thinks about the Mile High City’s restaurants, agriculture, and more.

Editor’s note: The following conversation has been edited for length, but definitely not clarity (nor grammar, impressively).

5280: Hey ChatGPT. How’s it going?

ChatGPT: Hello! I’m an AI language model, so I don’t have feelings, but I’m here and ready to assist you. How can I help you today?

5280: Got it, no need for pleasantries. What do you know about Denver’s food scene?

ChatGPT: Denver, Colorado has a vibrant and diverse food scene that caters to a wide range of tastes and preferences. Here are some key aspects of Denver’s food scene:

  1. Local Cuisine: Denver takes pride in its local cuisine, which often includes dishes like Colorado-style green chili, Rocky Mountain oysters (bull testicles), bison, and locally sourced beef.
  2. Craft Beer: Denver is known as the “Napa Valley of Beer” due to its thriving craft beer scene. The city is home to numerous microbreweries, brewpubs, and beer festivals, making it a haven for beer enthusiasts.
  3. Farm-to-Table Movement: There is a strong emphasis on farm-to-table dining in Denver, with many restaurants sourcing their ingredients locally. This focus on fresh, seasonal, and sustainable produce contributes to the city’s culinary reputation.
  4. International Cuisine: Denver’s food scene has restaurants serving Mexican, Italian, Asian (including Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean), Ethiopian, Middle Eastern, and many other global flavors.
  5. Food Markets and Food Halls: Denver boasts several food markets and food halls where you can explore a variety of culinary offerings in one location. The Denver Central Market and Stanley Marketplace are popular destinations for food lovers.
  6. Fine Dining and Celebrity Chefs: The city has an array of upscale restaurants and is home to renowned chefs who have gained national recognition.
  7. Food Festivals: Denver hosts various food festivals throughout the year, celebrating different cuisines, local products, and culinary experiences. The Great American Beer Festival, Denver Burger Battle, and Denver International Wine Festival are just a few examples.
A screenshot of ChatGPT.
A screenshot of 5280’s actual conversation with ChatGPT. Photo by Ethan Pan

5280: Wow, no lies detected. Green chile and IPAs are a given, but I’m glad we’re both on the same page on food halls and festivals, too. Hey, if I’m looking for a great dinner in Denver, what five restaurants would you recommend?

ChatGPT: Certainly! Here are five highly regarded restaurants in Denver that offer exceptional dining experiences:

  1. Frasca Food and Wine: Frasca is an award-winning Italian restaurant located in Boulder, just outside of Denver. It offers a refined and elegant dining experience, specializing in Friulian cuisine.
  2. Acorn: Located in Denver’s River North Art District (RiNo), Acorn offers a contemporary American cuisine with a creative twist. The menu features shareable plates that highlight seasonal ingredients and flavors. The restaurant’s industrial-chic ambiance and inventive cocktails add to the overall dining experience.
  3. Fruition Restaurant: Fruition is a popular farm-to-table restaurant in Denver known for its outstanding cuisine and warm ambiance. The menu focuses on seasonal ingredients sourced from local farms, resulting in dishes that are both innovative and comforting.
  4. Guard and Grace: Guard and Grace is an upscale steakhouse located in downtown Denver. It offers a modern and sophisticated dining experience with a focus on high-quality steaks and seafood.
  5. Root Down: Root Down is a popular restaurant located in a converted gas station in Denver’s Highlands neighborhood. It serves globally inspired cuisine with a focus on sustainable and locally sourced ingredients, including options for various dietary preferences.

Please note that the restaurant scene in Denver is dynamic, and new establishments continue to emerge. It’s always a good idea to check reviews, availability, and any specific dietary preferences before visiting any restaurant.

5280: Come on, Chat. We know your training data only goes up to September 2021 so your knowledge of news after that is limited, but Acorn went out of business in 2020. Didn’t you read our story on it? Anyway, we agree that Denver’s dining scene is super dynamic. Or maybe because we thought that’s the case, you think that’s the case now? Let’s not dwell on that. Where do you see Denver’s food scene going in the next decade?

ChatGPT: Predicting the future trajectory of a city’s food scene can be challenging, but based on current trends and patterns, here are a few possibilities for Denver’s food scene in the next decade:

  1. Continued Emphasis on Local and Sustainable: The farm-to-table movement will likely continue to grow, with more restaurants sourcing ingredients from local farms and incorporating sustainable practices.
  2. Culinary Innovation and Fusion: Denver’s food scene has been evolving and embracing culinary innovation, blending different flavors and techniques.
  3. Rise of Plant-Based and Alternative Diets: With the increasing popularity of plant-based diets and the growing demand for alternative proteins, Denver’s food scene is likely to see a rise in plant-based and vegetarian/vegan-friendly options.
  4. Focus on Ethnic and Global Cuisines: Denver’s diverse population and appreciation for international flavors will likely lead to further growth in the availability and popularity of ethnic and global cuisines.
  5. Technology Integration and Food Delivery: As technology continues to advance, it is likely to have an impact on Denver’s food scene. Online food delivery services, virtual restaurants, and innovative dining experiences facilitated by technology may become more prevalent.
  6. Sustainability and Environmental Consciousness: Restaurants may adopt more environmentally friendly practices, such as reducing food waste, utilizing renewable energy sources, and implementing eco-friendly packaging.

It’s important to note that these are speculative trends, and the actual direction of Denver’s food scene will be influenced by a variety of factors, including consumer preferences, economic conditions, and cultural shifts. However, Denver’s dynamic and evolving food scene is likely to continue to surprise and delight residents and visitors in the coming years.

5280: You know what? We like your vision, Chat. And we have to commend you on your writing—a bit redundant, but nothing an editor can’t fix. Unfortunately for now, we’ll be sticking to human writers, but it was really great picking your brain. We’d love to shake your hand but… well, nevermind.

Ethan Pan
Ethan Pan
Ethan Pan is 5280’s associate food editor, writing and editing for the print magazine and Follow his dining/cooking Instagram @ethans_pan.