Reader: Would it be so terrible to have a Chipotle in LoHi?

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LoHi remains the city's hottest restaurant neighborhood in town, with would-be restaurateurs still looking for open spaces in the area. The most recent project announced is Central Bistro and Bar, going in right on the edge of Highland, where Lance Barto will be serving new American food.

But what about old American food...like a sandwich? Or a big burrito?

Says David:

I live in Lower Highland and absolutely love the slew of independent restaurants and shops, but we are in dire need of some form of fast casual food. The only option is Mary Janes Pizza, which is a late night spot. Would it be so terrible to put a Chipotle or a local sandwich shop somewhere on 32nd?

Chipotle, of course, is a homegrown product; The massive burrito chain got its start with a single Chipotle on East Evans Avenue twenty years ago. Would it be so terrible to put one on West 32nd? What else does LoHi need?

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Shelbydenver2012
Shelbydenver2012

As much as I would both enjoy a fast casual and grocery option in LoHi, the reality is there just isn't enough density to support it. The reason the restaurant scene is doing so well is because it is primarily a destination spot. Patrons are coming from all over the city & suburbs in order to support these establishment. This does not translate into sales for fast casual, milk or bread.

davebarnes
davebarnes

Taco Bell.Real Mexican food.

David
David

I know this is gonna cause another shitstorm of comments but I am pretty excited about the Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Dorrito Taco.  Not gonna lie.

David
David

I have an idea... instead of everyone complaining about how I am fat and that I need to walk to burger king on 38th, why don't you guys answer the question in the article "what else would be good in LoHi?" So instead of a Chipotle, here are your options... choose wisely:

A) Empty LotsB) Vacant BuildingsC) More OfficeD) More Hair SalonsE) More Bakeries / Fro YoF) More Coffee ShopsG) Fast Casual*H) ______________

*This asterisk is here to explain that it does not need to be Chipotle.  It can even be Qdoba. 

Mantonat
Mantonat

H) More women and fewer guys with mustaches.

Guest
Guest

Wow Mantonat, you have a cool Lohi address and you still can't get laid? Why am I not surprised?

Mantonat
Mantonat

Aww, I don't hate you, and it makes me sad that you think I do :(

I just was trying to disagree with your assertion that LoHi needs a Chipotle (or other fast casual). You also said "or other local sandwich shop," so I attempted to point out a few that are already there. The rest of this is just for entertainment value.

As a former resident of the area, all I can really say is that I was more than happy with my restaurant choices. I also really like the direction that the area is headed: primarily residential (single family and condos/apartments) with some fun destination dining options and a few quirky locally owned shops. I was sad when Red Door Swinging and Stomp Them Grapes closed. I was happy to see new restaurants, liquor stores, and bars come in to fill vacant or abandoned spaces. I wouldn't be upset if some fast-casual joints moved in, but I honestly never felt I was that far from them in the first place. That's it - just a different opinion.

Maybe I have more issues with "Guest's" comments above, who said that LoHi was not really a livable area. I just don't get that and I don't really understand why the neighborhood has to be all things to all people when it's just so damn close to downtown. The only other areas I can think of that are as close and offers such variety while maintaining its residential feel are Uptown and parts of Capital Hill. Capital Hill certainly offers more in terms of variety, but it's also a much denser area with many problems that come with an older, busier urban area. I would hate to see LoHi turn into that. 

David
David

Hey Mantonat, once again, read the article.  "The only option is Mary Janes Pizza, which is a late night spot."  Stop being a hater.

Mantonat
Mantonat

Zing! OK, how about:H) Guys who are willing to admit that when they say the neighborhood "is in dire need of" fast casual restaurants, what they really mean is "dude, I was so hung over the other day when I rolled out of bed at 2pm that I was afraid to get in my car because I thought I might actually still be drunk and there was nothing open within stumbling distance and I only had seven Sacagaweas in my pocket for reasons I don't remember and I would have killed for a burrito the size of my arm or a big sloppy bowl of Asian-ish noodles."

Aceranchero
Aceranchero

H) Parking

thespot84
thespot84

While I appreciate your frustration, If you know a thing about urban development you'll realize how terrible any idea this is.  Parking is the greatest example of 'if you build it, they will come'.  Build parking and people will drive and park there.  It's exacly the reason we have the blight we do downtown of skyscrapers sitting next to street parking lots.  

We need better public transportation (like a streetcar from union station), not parking, unless it's permitted for residents like yourself.

Jon S
Jon S

Odd. I've often wished places like Highland Tap & Burger, Linger, Lola, Masterpiece and Little Man were closer to where I live. But I've never once wished I had a Chipotle just a little bit closer just so I wouldn't have to walk or ride my bike for a few minutes.

David
David

Just for the record, I used Chipolte as an example (just as Adam said).  I think a local indepedent choice would be great and doesn't need to be Mexican.  I frequently go the Mexican restaurants in the neighborhood and think they are fantastic and not too expensive.  Taquiera Patzcuaros is a personal favorite.  I don't think that telling me to drive into Lodo or up to Highland Square really addresses what I was saying.  I think there is real demand for something within walking distance that can be quick (to-go) and affordable.  For an up and coming neighborhood with huge growth and several new apartment projects underway, I would be shocked if there were no plans for fast casual in the near future. 

thespot84
thespot84

shhhh they're not supposed to know I'm Adam

Akonk
Akonk

LoHi could use a Thai or Middle Eastern restaurant.. Something that's quick and cheap and isn't American or Mexican food. 

Mantonat
Mantonat

So could a lot of other neighborhoods. And the neighborhoods that have Thai and/or Middle Eastern restaurants could use good Mexican or German or Italian restaurants. I think Manhattan is a good neighborhood that has a wide variety of ethnic restaurants within easy walking or public transportation distance.

thespot84
thespot84

Look I live in the neighborhood as well (right in the heard of it), and you guys are missing two key points, speed and price.  David was mentioning chipotle as an example of fast-casual.  Something needs to be available when I:

A) Don't want to sit downB) Don't want to be waited on (or have to tip)C) Want to spend between $8 and $10 on lunch OR dinnerD) Is open on weekends and during reasonable hours (dinner, for instance)

Fast casual has boomed in the last decade, chipotle, noodles etc as examples, because this is a need that people have.  I love getting burgers from Lohi Steakbar, but sometimes I don't want to wait 10 minutes for it and spend $13 or $14 after tip.

And to address those mentioning the mexican restuarants: I do frequent the mexican restaurants, maybe I'd like something other than mexican food every time I'm hungry and in a hurry?  Again, david mentioned chipotle AS AN EXAMPLE.  What if he wanted a noodles instead, would you tell him to suck it up and get mexican then (and still be waited on and still have to tip)?

I love the fact that there isn't a SINGLE business between the highway, federal, speer and 38th, with the exception of a gas station, that isn't locally owned.  We could even meet the needs I described above with a locally owned fast-casual restaurant.  Telling someone to suck it up and get mexican food or walk 20 minutes and take a bus to get downtown is entirely missing the point.

I'm certain over time the free market will realize that there's an opportunity here and something will change, be it a new restaurant, or maybe a shop like jays being open for more than 1 hour during lunch on weekdays, for the myriad people that work, but don't live, in lower highland.

Mantonat
Mantonat

I see the neighborhood as more of a residential area that people mostly leave during the day and return to in the evenings - exactly the opposite of the standard business model for fast casual restaurant, which are largely located near office parks, high-density strip malls, colleges, etc. - places with high density daytime populations. The Chipotle at 32nd and Lowell is somewhat of an anomaly. The restaurant scene has boomed there primarily because of low commercial property prices, a demographic that has been skewing younger and with more expendable income, and proximity to downtown - a close alternative for people who don't want to hassle with downtown traffic and crowd but still want an urban dining experience. This doesn't seem to be the kind of area that typically supports fast-casual restaurants, but as more and more small businesses move in and commercial blocks expand, that may certainly change. Until then, the "I want it when I want it - why can't they accommodate my schedule and budget" attitude just comes across as whiny.

Scott
Scott

Technically, Quiznos & Starbucks are within your boundaries, by North High on Speer and Federal

thespot84
thespot84

True, and I expanded the discussion by setting boundaries in the first place

I think we're really talking about something around the commercial pockets in the nighborhood though, specifically by linger or somewhere along 32nd, where's there's actually density and foot traffic.

whiskey
whiskey

*not* by the spoiled and entitled

whiskey
whiskey

wow, so how did all the people who have lived in that area for generations managed all this time. Oh, that's right, it was populated by the spoiled and entitled but by low income and immigrants (and not just Hispanic). 

Aceranchero
Aceranchero

Please, not on 32nd. We live on 32nd, east of Tejon, and we're getting pissed about the turn off onto 18th being treated as an onramp to the freeway. We'll be video taping AM go-go commuters starting this Spring and submitting to the city that something needs to be done. 5-way stop at Shoshone? In our two short years there we've four drivers pinball into parked cars, had a parking sign taken out by another, and yet another driver who couldn't decide which way to go stop inches, not feet, inches short of the condo building on the corner. 

Scott
Scott

I don't see why anyone would be concerned about a Chipotle opening in Highland.  The Chipotle on 32nd and Lowell hasn't negatively effected West Highland.  The only problem in the neighborhood is all of the condos being built and all of the old houses being torn down. 

whiskey
whiskey

 that Chipotle was one of the first things in there when that area started to change.  Before that, it was Pizza Alley and a laundromat.  Chipotle would have never been allowed to move in there if they hadn't preceded all the wankers that now populate the area.

Mantonat
Mantonat

I don't have a problem with a Chipotle opening there; but David's comment is kind of like a botanist studying the succulents of the Mojavi desert and saying "these are great, but I'd love to see some rose bushes around here." With a wealth of choices in a broad price range, why even think about Chipotle? And if you want Chipotle, is traveling a mile to get a burrito such a huge inconvenience? It's not about ruining a neighborhood, it's about people's perception of choice and convenience.

thespot84
thespot84

I'm repeating myself but Chipotle in this case is an example, the neighborhood needs something that fits the fast casual profile, it doesn't have to be mexican or pseudo mexican.  It has to be quick, open decent hours and less than $10.  That simply doesn't exist.

Aceranchero
Aceranchero

Here's a concept: how about visiting one of the plentiful Mexican establishments in the neighborhood (I live there, too) instead of a gringo-Mex chain? 

Agree with Mantonat on the Safeway location. Add to that minimal offerings just across the pedestrian bridge at Natural Grocers. If you're reading this blog then you maybe you care a bit about locally sourced (CO) products in which case there's the teeny but accommodating In Season market at 32nd & Wyandot. Let's see a market where a market is really needed: in the Central Platte Valley. 

I'd rather not see a fast food chain on any kind in LoHi. Walk—you need the exercise if you're eating this stuff—or ride your bike to 38th & Pecos (Burger King) or 38th & Fed (KFC, Fish & Chips). 

Beavis
Beavis

Here's a concept: how about visiting one of the plentiful Mexican establishments in the oopneighborhood (I live there, too) instead of a gringo-Mex chain?

I've long argued that the Mission District of San Francisco needs to sue Chipotle for defamation...

Mantonat
Mantonat

Absolutely. Not only that, but it's like a 10-15 minute walk to the end of the 16th Mall free bus service and then you've got a world of choices along with some free entertainment. I can't understand why someone who lives halfway between two Chipotle stores that are onlt 2 miles apart would want another one. Maybe David should just open his own franchise so he's never more than a shout away from a foil-wrapped burrito.

Eric
Eric

He should open one.  None of this "Maybe" BS.  

lipster
lipster

There's a Chipotle at 32nd and Lowell but I agree that we could use a decent, casual, less pricey (than the muy delicioso but rough on the pocketbook Masterpiece), open-later-than-4:00 deli/market.  If only we could get rid of Heidi's (:::::gags::::).  

Guest
Guest

Or, how about a grocery store? Lohi is a great culinary destination. But, it definitely lacks both fast casual and a legit grocery store.

Mantonat
Mantonat

There's a Safeway at 26th & Federal, which is about as close as a grocery store needs to be. There's also a Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocery at 15th & Platte, which is a little pricey but carries some good stuff.There are at least two or three Mexican places on 32nd (plus numerous other ones on or just off Federal), the Gallup Cafe, Masterpiece Deli, and Jay's Patio Cafe for sandwiches, a ton of lunch options on 38th, etc. I lived in that area for 3 years and I never wanted for choice. 

Guest
Guest

In my opinion, Lohi has nice views and good restaurants. However, it's lacking in terms of day to day livability. I'd rather live where I can walk to a good grocery store than live walking distance to Linger. Just my 2 cents.

No more whiners
No more whiners

THEN MOVE TO THE FREAKIN SUBURBS!!!!!!  You knew what you were getting when you chose to live where you do.  You are like the people who move near the airport and then complain about the noise.  QUIT WHINING!You should have at least chosen to live in other parts of NW Denver.  There is a perfectly good Safeway at 44th and Lowell. 

hell, i could live down in that area on Patsy's alone. 

Guest
Guest

Wow, based on your criteria, almost every neighborhood in the actual City of Denver fits what you described: A long walk or short bike ride to Downtown.

There's nothing wrong with Lohi, but it's not as special as you suggest.

Mantonat
Mantonat

I'd rather live within walking distance of a vibrant urban center with public transportation, multiple sports and performing arts centers, a diverse population, a wide variety of good restaurants, good shopping, and maybe even my job. Living in Lower Highland means easy access to all of thus on foot, bicycle, bus, and light rail. But, hey, dude's gotta be able to see his grocery store from his front window I guess.

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