Trends without end, the final round: nanobreweries, restaurant economics and the demise of mixology

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What will be the big culinary trends in 2013? As we prepare for a new year in gastronomy, we posed that question to dozens of people in the local food business, everyone from chefs and pastry magicians to restaurant brokers and PR consultants, from brewers and grape gurus to realtors and pig farmers.

And while their insights and opinions are all over the map, one thing is clear: Denver's culinary scene is definitely going to be a conversation piece next year, both at home and across the country. Trend lists are like Twitter accounts: Just about everyone has one. But no one has a list as comprehensive as this...

Keeping reading for our final batch of predictions from local tastemakers.

See also:
- Trends without end, round one: Simplicity, local greens and pot (maybe)
- Trends without end, round two: Beer, beer cocktails and the whole beast
- Trends without end, round three: Vegetables, spice and Scandinavia
- Trends without end, round four: Bread, breed and Twitter fatique
- Trends without end, round five: Pickling, pop-ups and moving beyond buzzwords

- Trends without end, round six: liquid assets, flesh and fine-dining elitism

Leigh Jones, owner, Jonesy's EatBar, Horseshoe Lounge, Bar Car
On being neighborhoody: We're seeing a deepening of the desire in diners to be somewhere "where everybody knows your name." Ten years ago, when we shut the cavernous B52 Billiards, I believed a lot of it was due to the rise of the neighborhood bar in Denver. Now you can go to a world-class restaurant like the Kitchen or the Squeaky Bean and still feel like you're one of the guys...a regular on your first visit. I believe this warmth is what will separate the successes from the failures in our industry as we move forward.

On nanobreweries: I love the trend of the nanobrewery in the Colorado craft beer industry. These guys are the classic example of a slab of concrete plus a keg of good beer plus a friendly bartender adding up to success. Even cooler is watching the big guys like Left Hand or Oskar Blues show so much support and camaraderie to these newcomers; it's really fun to watch. I'd really love to see our winemakers follow their lead.

On looking out for one another: I think for the insiders in the Denver restaurant scene, that feeling of wanting to support each other, cheer for each other and cook together whenever possible is only going to get bigger and better. I want to believe that other towns follow this road map, but I just know in my heart and gut that what we have here is truly something special.

John Imbergamo, president, The Imbergamo Group
On restaurant economics: 2013 makes me nervous. It very well might be a troubled financial year for Denver's restaurant industry, predominantly from the cost side of the business. Increases in commodity prices will continue to rise in 2013, as we reap what we did not sow in 2012. While the full hit of the Affordable Health Care Act will not hit restaurants until January 2014, operators must analyze its impact in 2013 and make staffing and pricing decisions accordingly. The de-Brucing passed by Denver voters will significantly increase restaurants' real-estate property taxes in the City and County, and the solution won't be as simple as raising prices in this increasingly competitive environment. Restaurateurs will need to creatively massage their offerings, pricing, staffing and profit structure to stay in business.


Location Info

The Bar Car

819 Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO

Category: Music

City, O' City

206 E. 13th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

WaterCourse Foods

837 E. 17th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Lala's Wine Bar + Pizzeria

410 E. 7th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen

1317 14th St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Marczyk Fine Foods

770 E. 17th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

A Cote Bar a Absinthe

2239 W. 30th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Z Cuisine

2239 W. 30th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant


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7 comments
UhhhmericanPsycho
UhhhmericanPsycho

Hot Mixology is an abomination of a bar. Their bartenders are horrible. Maybe I'll open up a burger king but call it Per Se. Hot indeed.

GFisNOTaFAD
GFisNOTaFAD

Samir-I think the fact that you think gluten free is a fad is exactly why I spent several nights of my life vomiting and all the other gross details that come with Celiac disease for 6+ hours following meals in your restaurant (former restaurant, not Lola's).  My friend talked me into trying your restaurant again, and the second time I had the same exact experience exactly 3 hours after eating your food.  After 7+ years of being gluten-free, I can say that those 2 experiences were the most painful I have had in my life aside from getting my tonsils removed at the age of 28.  It felt like the most horrific cases of food poisioning I could imagine.  I have learned my lesson.  I have to admit the food you cook is delicious and I think you are a great chef in that respect.  However, I think your lack of understanding of this disease and the people who have it is evident by your lack of care in your kitchen when either preparing these meals or understanding ingredients.  Whether a person has true celiac disease, a gluten intolerance, or just know they feel better off when they remove gluten from their diet should not matter to you.  But I can tell you wholeheartdly, the fact that you take us seriously matters to us.  Guess what..we usually don't go out to dinner in a pack of GF eaters.  We eat with our families and friends, many who don't have Celiac.  And if 1 person can't eat at your restaurant then none of these people eat at your restaurant.  You don't just lose 1 customer...you can lose many.  Gluten Free is NOT a fad.

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve topcommenter

@GFisNOTaFAD 

Samir is correct.  While there are people who truly must have gluten free diets, there are still many people who have gone gluten free because they feel that it's the thing to do these days.  I see it every day.

UnBoulevardier
UnBoulevardier

@foodcrazy @GFisNOTaFAD I would be appalled  to see a 'chef' call out a guest's 'supposed' peanut allergy as a fad as opposed to something that causes asphyxiation and death in a dining room.  I've been in a restaurant, as a guest, where someone had to have an Epi-shot in the dining room because of an allergy reaction. I don't care if you're FOH or BOH it's our job in the restaurant industry to take care of those that come into our establishments and make sure they have a wonderful and safe time. If a cook publicly professes to not care about a guest's allergies or questions if their health is a choice rather than something they have to live with every day it's quite simple to take our business elsewhere.  In the industry we deal with people's dietary requests and desires every day.  That's in our job description.  Only a massive fucking prick would ask for a guest's medical records before complying with their dietary requests.

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve topcommenter

@UnBoulevardier @foodcrazy @GFisNOTaFAD 

Oop!  Good catch.  It's celiac disease.  Thanks for pointing that out.  Now get back to the corner.

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve topcommenter

@UnBoulevardier @foodcrazy @GFisNOTaFAD 

Samir didn't say that folks with gluten free diets would not be accommodated.  I haven't been to a food joint where folks with gluten free diets were not accommodated.  It's just that many folks claim to be celeriac (but who really aren't) because it's fashionable.  You obviously don't get it.  It's time for you to sit your crybaby butts in the corner and finish whining it out.

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