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Changing Courses

A letter from the editor of our March 2016 issue.

—Photo by Jeff Nelson

If you’re paying (very) close attention, you may notice something a little different about this issue of 5280. For the past four years, we’ve published food editor Amanda M. Faison’s list of Denver’s best new restaurants in March—and for five years before that, with one exception, we ran this list in another of our issues, usually toward the end of the calendar year. It was a feature that was always enjoyable to put together, especially in the more recent past as the local restaurant landscape exploded with openings and an influx of young, talented chefs (see, for example, the story of Work & Class’ Dana Rodriguez, which starts on page 44). But as we started planning this issue’s feature, we couldn’t help feeling that the “Best New Restaurants” format was too restrictive to capture the full picture of what’s happening in Denver’s dining community. In the Mile High City today, restaurants open—and close—and older standbys reinvent themselves with such stunning frequency that the annual list was starting to seem like something of an anachronism.

And so we jettisoned our “Best New” rubric for a package we dubbed “Where To Eat Now” (page 50) that hums with the energy of, say, Bar Dough on a Friday night. “It was time for a change,” Faison says, “and the pace of this feature, with more than 100 places instead of just 10, mirrors the frenetic, booming vibe of Denver’s dining scene.” The story mixes established eateries with newcomers and casual spots with not-so-casual (for Denver, at least) restaurants—and gives you scores of options for your next date, your next birthday, or, heck, your next meal. It’s a comprehensive look at dining in the city right now, and on top of that, it’s one hell of a fun read.

The changes to 5280 will not end, however, with this month’s cover story. In fact, this summer you’ll see a much bigger transformation when we unveil a redesign aimed at better reflecting—in design, photography, and stories—Denver’s (and our) evolution. Similarly, we’re overhauling our website to create a more seamless, user-friendly experience to showcase our award-winning articles. It’s an exciting time to be in Denver (the Super Bowl 50 champion Broncos are parading down 17th Street en route to Civic Center Park as I write this), and we’re looking forward to making these tweaks to better serve you, our readers. In the meantime, turn to “Where To Eat Now” and book a reservation. You won’t be sorry.

This article was originally published in 5280 March 2016.

Geoff Van Dyke
Geoff Van Dyke

Geoff Van Dyke is the editorial director of 5280 Publishing. Follow him on Twitter @GeoffVanDyke

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Changing Courses

Johnson & Wales unveils its $17 million renovation of a 99-year-old National Historic Landmark.

—Sarah Boyum

Johnson & Wales University has a reputation for being a party school. That’s not to say its keggers are epic (though they might be—we just haven’t been invited). Rather, the national university with four locations (including Denver) is known for producing students who know how to throw a good bash: namely, hospitality workers. But like most reps earned at college, this one’s a little misleading. “We’re not just a culinary school, as often we’re referred to,” says spokeswoman Holli Keyser. Over the past two years, JWU has rolled out a slew of nonhospitality degrees, such as an MBA program, with more on the way. To show it’s serious about the new studies, the northeast Denver JWU campus will house many of these programs in the recently renovated Centennial Hall. Previously known as Treat Hall, the 99-year-old building is a National Historic Landmark. JWU poured more than $17 million from a bond package into remaking Treat, constructing offices and classrooms for its new urban studies and media and communication programs while also preserving the building’s two-story great hall as a state-of-the-art auditorium. The redubbed Centennial Hall and Founders Hall—a residence hall that received a $15 million revamp—debut to the school’s 1,500 students this fall. JWU will host a grand-opening gala on October 6, proving that however studious it becomes, the school will never forget how to party.