What defines a "neighborhood" restaurant in Denver these days?

central bistro hot.jpg
Central Bistro & Bar: a neighborhood restaurant in a hot neighborhood?
Chefs toss around a lot of confusing terms: sous-vide, brown braise, macerate, sweat (when it comes to onions, at least), etc. But when it comes to describing restaurants, here's a word we all understand: neighborhood. Or do we?

Neighborhood restaurants used to be places that attracted us as much for their proximity (close to home) as their price (affordable). No one would think of going to a neighborhood joint to celebrate a birthday or an anniversary -- those were spent at fancy places outside the 'hood -- but they would go there week in, week out, for reliably good food, a familiar menu and a server who just might recognize a face.

See also:
- The family operation at Tables is both comforting and surprising
- Chef and Tell with Lance Barto
- Win a New Year's Eve dinner for two at Central Bistro & Bar

According to restaurant consultant John Imbergamo, now all that has changed. "More fine dining restaurants have moved into neighborhood locations," he says. As a result, "you don't have to wait until Friday" to eat at one.

Fruition and Table 6 are examples of restaurants that, in other locations, would never have been tagged with the word "neighborhood." Tables is another.

Guess which category -- neighborhood or destination -- Central Bistro & Bar (Lance Barto's place that opened last summer) falls into? And while you're at it, tell us if you think "neighborhood" and "destination" still mean anything in regard to restaurants, or if those words, like "record player," "boombox" and "typewriter," have fallen by the wayside as we've evolved.

And watch for my review of Central Bistro & Bar here tomorrow.

Location Info

Central Bistro & Bar

1691 Central St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant


1313 E. 6th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Table 6

609 Corona St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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Mantonat topcommenter

When the neighbors can't get a table, it's not a neighborhood restaurant anymore.


Requisite Frasca reference for the day: they too are "neighborhood", says so on their homepage.

"Neighborhood" and "destination" are obsolete terms (ala. "record player" etc.). Very suburbia terms: "destination" being trip into the big city to visit the restaurant with a name starting with "Le" and everything served under Sterling silver.

In an era when people find fresh good food coming from the back of a truck, people getting less interested in having to put on a suit and tie to go to dinner, higher expectations by consumers, more knowledgeable of "other" cuisines, slow economy, restaurants are noticing these trends and the lines are blurring.

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