While we can’t predict what the next big thing in Denver’s foodie scene will be, we can pretty much guarantee where it will come from: RiNo’s Sustainability Park. In mid-July, the 2.7-acre testing ground for eco-friendly building and agriculture practices began hosting TheBigWonderful, a food-focused market intended to give fledgling businesses the opportunity to introduce their goods to an Instagram-happy crowd. Organized like a farmers’ market with each purveyor in his or her own stand, TheBigWonderful aims to be an incubator for home cooks looking to elevate their household recipes for, say, barbecue beyond family gatherings and even for professional chefs hoping to test-market new dishes. Each Saturday and the final Friday of the month, TheBigWonderful hosts more than 50 purveyors on a rotating basis (check out a sampling below). The free-to-attend weekly outdoor bazaar, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and 5 to 10 p.m. on Fridays, will continue through at least October, but there are plans to make it year-round. Bonus: Any organic waste produced goes back into the park’s gardens to encourage future growth—much like the market itself. thebigwonderful.com


Once you’ve tasted the vegan treats from this truck, you’ll never forget the tongue-twister name. Philadelphia-born Sarag Ladley makes her 100-percent fruit soft-serve out of creamy frozen bananas. Try the mixed berry and banana or the peach mango to get a taste of how this magical technique renders gluten-, dairy-, additive-, and sugar-free indulgences.

A Taste of the Philippines

One bite of chicken adobo from Kathy Gietl’s trailer on the 16th Street Mall was all it took for the dish to become a staff favorite. Now Gietl’s beef or veggie-stuffed egg rolls, a traditional Filipino dish called “lumpias,” doled out late at night from her truck, are becoming beloved by the bar crowd. Gietl recently began bottling her sweet-and-sour sauce so you don’t have to stand in line to get your fix.

Backyard Soda Co.

Simple syrups are easy to make, but you rarely have them on hand when you’re, say, in the middle of mixing a cocktail. Better to leave those elixirs to the Backyard Soda Co., where Patrick Creager infuses pure cane syrup with fresh fruit, herbs, and spices to get flavors such as ginger lime and mango jalapeño. Best of all, the blends are versatile; they can be stirred into frostings or turned into Popsicles.

Brazilian Acarajé

Like the now-popular arepa, the acarajé—a gluten-free, black-eyed pea fritter from Brazil—might go mainstream. At least, that’s what Jessica Dries and Edglas Prado hope. Stuffed with sautéed shrimp (or chicken or veggies) and onions and served with diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and “vatapá” (a coconut milk paste with ground peanuts and cashews), this sandwich could persuade the wheat-eating masses to give up grain.

This article was originally published in 5280 August 2014.
Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.