LoHi goes from 22 bars and restaurants to 55 -- in just six years

Categories: Cafe Society

When Lola moved to Highland, dozens of restaurants followed.
I live in the belly of the beast, Denver's hottest restaurant neighborhood last year: Lower Highland, or LoHi, as developer Paul Tamburello dubbed it when he started work on the Olinger project. (In response, I refer to my particular block as SoLola -- south of Lola, which moved into the corner of the old Olinger facility almost seven years ago, the first of many restaurants to move to the neighborhood). Sunday's Denver Post story about property values on the rise in Highland was an eye-opener, but the stat that really startled some people was the number of restaurants/bars/coffee shops in the area: a whopping 55 in the hot-hot neighborhood bordered by Speer, I-25, Federal Boulevard and West 38th Avenue -- up from 22 just six years ago.

See also:
- Slide show: Last supper at Pagliacci's
- Longo's Subway Tavern reaches the end of the line
- Tavern LoHi is coming to Highland, and hipsters panic over parking

But the numbers are pretty much on the money. And there are more restaurants soon to come, including the much-anticipated Old Major and Barry's @ Highland, which has taken over the Arabian Bar space.

They will join a list (thanks to Lu Stasko of the LoHi Merchants Group for the count) that already runs from A to Z: A Cote Bar a Absinthe, Ale House at Amato's, Black Eye Coffee, Cebiche, Cellar Wine Bar, Central Bistro & Bar, Chile Verde, Clyde's Sausage & Ground Beef, Duo, Forest Room 5, Gaetano's, Gallop Cafe, Highland Tap & Burger, Highland Tavern, Jay's Patio, Jezebel's, Juarez Restaurant y Panaderia, La Mexicana Taqueria, Laughing Latte, Lechuga's, Linger, Little Man Ice Cream, Living the Sweet Life, LoHi Steak Bar, Lola, Loncheria La Mexicana, Los Carboncitos, Lumber Baron, Mary Jane's Pizza, Masterpiece Delicatessen, Menchie's Highland, Panaderia Rosales Bakery, Park Burger, Pasquini's Highland, Patsy's Inn, Pig & Block Charcuterie, Prost Brewing, Root Down, Rosa Linda's Mexican Cafe, Shangri-La, Spuntino, Stir Cooking School, Tamales by La Casita, Taqueria Patzcuaro, Tea Bar by Teatulia, 32nd Treat, Uncle, Vita, Williams & Graham, Wooden Spoon, Z Cuisine and Zio Romolo's Alley Bar.

And that's not counting the Highland restaurants that shut their doors in 2012, including Gramma Dor's (its space on West 32nd Avenue is now for lease); the legendary Pagliacci's, which closed in August after more than sixty years in the same location (a residential complex will be built on the spot); and Longo's Subway Tavern, another old-school Italian joint that was closed soon after Pagliacci's but will reopen as a restaurant -- as soon as Larimer Associates, which bought the place, decides what to do with it.

A version of this story originally appeared in Cafe Bites, our weekly electronic newsletter on Denver's drinking and dining scene that appears in e-mail in-boxes. Find out how to subscribe here.

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1575 Boulder St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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Lohi is to Denver what Buckhead is to Atlanta.

It's got tons of restaurants and tons of bars but not a parking spot to be found.

It's a great place to party but has become a terrible place to live.


I think Barry's @ Highland is actually going to be called Local Bar @ Highlands.  I heard, from another local bar owner, that Barry ran out of $ and sold it.  Not sure of the validity of the ownership change.

Matt J Reed
Matt J Reed

AS someone who has worked downtown for over 12 years it's harder to make a dollar holla now than ever. It's not like there are 50 percent more customers coming down there. Denver has so much more to offer though. It's great. As a restaurant employee and a restaurant fan.


and not a fast casual restaurant (locally owned, of course) to be found.

Mantonat topcommenter

@Philo99 I'm not sure that a neighborhood can become"a terrible place to live" based on the parking situation alone. There are only a a few streets where most of these new restaurants and bars are located, whereas there are multiple blocks that are still nothing but residential homes,  many of which have their own driveways. And if it gets too bad on certain blocks, the residents can always do what other neighborhoods have done and require permits for street parking. When I lived across Federal at 24th & Grove, cars parked on the street needed permit stickers - primarily to prevent parking problems associated with Mile High/Sport Authority.


So, take the bus. There are 4 lines than run through the heart of LoHi. 2 more ride the borders. Surely one of those routes can get you close to home... and no worries about parking or expense of gas.

LoHi isn't a suburb. Time to get used to Urban Living.

Mantonat topcommenter

@thespot84 Fast-casual restaurants generally do best in areas with high lunch volume. Maybe LoHi is more of a dining/nightlife destination and less of a business district. People leave LoHi during the day and come back in the evening. Guess that kind of sucks for residents who want a quick lunch or dinner, but that seems to be the economics of it.

I wouldn't say, though, that the area is entirely lacking in options. Masterpiece Deli is more or less fast casual. Jay's and Gallup cafe are also fairly quick on the service side and stand in pretty well for fast-casual. Still, if you want Chipotle, Qdoba, Noodles & Co, Tokyo Joe's, etc., I guess you need to travel at least a little bit out of the confines.

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