Is Denver a chain-restaurant town? 104.3 FM's Joel Klatt thinks so, but we disagree

Categories: Fast Food

fast food stock shot.jpg
Occasionally while driving, I'll take a break from scanning the strip malls for the next great undiscovered hole in the wall. To occupy my time in the car, I'll tune the radio to sports talk to be amused by just how far past the end of the Broncos' football season commentators can still dissect one play over and over again.

With the Super Bowl fast approaching, many Denver radio stations have taken their show on the road and are broadcasting from New Orleans, site of Super Bowl XVII. Seasoned radio veterans and ex-jocks turned commentators are even now being feted with Louisiana's best food and drink while schmoozing with current players and coaches ramping up for the big game. And because opinions are being thrown around with the frequency of Peyton's Manning slant passes, the topic of food is certain to come up -- especially considering New Orleans' reputation as one of the best food cities in America.

I was surprised, though, to hear former CU Buffalo quarterback and current 104.3 FM morning sports guy Joel Klatt so wholeheartedly endorse the Big Easy at the expense of Denver.

See also:
- Five Super Bowl deals you can score on Sunday in Denver
- Photos: Ten epic Super Bowl meat stadiums
- Ten restaurants that will bowl you over with New Orleans fare on Super Bowl weekend

He raved about an alligator burger with tiger sauce that had been served to him the previous night, while at the same time stating that nothing so good was to be found in Denver -- primarily, he said, because Denver is "a chain-restaurant town."

I was incensed. I was livid. I was sure that this was some suburban cul-de-sac dweller complaining about the sad state of food affairs in Highlands Ranch or Parker. But as I listened, it became clear that Klatt is a seasoned traveler who takes full advantage of his restaurant-industry connections in cities outside of Colorado. His argument was backed by evidence, even if ultimately I knew he was wrong.

I could barely pull over fast enough to tweet the following:

joelklatt tweet 1.png

To my amazement (I'm pretty new at this Twitter thing), he responded:

joelklatt tweet 2.png

I sent a few more messages with lists of my favorite spots, including some of the best and most creative new restaurants as well as a few of the more exotic, if not quite so chic, dives and joints that are dear to my heart and belly. He said he liked a few, but that some were not so good. Eventually, he sent this out...

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

Is Denver a chain restaurant town?  No, probably not.  Would I take the food of New Orleans over Denver's every day of the week and twice on Sunday?  Hell yeah.

Compared to New Orleans, which is IMO one of the very best food cities anywhere, Denver is nothing special.  That's not to say we don't have a good food scene, but take his statement in context.


 Since Klatt is a fellow Buff, I am going to cut him some slack.  Perhaps he hits all the great restaurants in other towns b/c he is a tourist in those places - and a wealthy one with a fat corporate account, at that.  You tend not to hit all the great spots (or sites) in your own town, b/c they are always there.  Ask anyone who lives in DC how many monuments or museums they have been to, outside of times they have out of town visitors in town.  So maybe this is the case for him.  

So maybe that is why he thinks a place like KC is a great restaurant town.  He only goes to the handful of places in the handful of times he is there.  As someone who has spent a significant amount of time in KC, it has just as many, if not more, chains as does Denver. And I am sure if he went anywhere in NO outside the main "tourist" areas, he would find just as many chains.

Or maybe he is just an arrogant prick running down his home town.  Or maybe he is a suburban boy who has never been outside of parts up North of Denver.  Certainly the area he grew up was awash in chains (particularly in his formative years), and maybe those are the only places his parents ever took him.  

 Regardless, he should be an ambassador for this great city and state, not running it down.  I hope to see a series of articles featuring Mantonat dragging Klatt to all the great restaurants up and down the Front Range.  Hell, the mountains too.


If you listen to Joel Klatt on the radio you know that he is an opinionated jock and does not know much outside of sports. He is not cultured or experienced in the fine dining arena. He makes rash and inflammatory comments frequently. His comment that Denver is a chain restaurant town is out out self imposed ignorance. Klatt is being paid to be in New Orleans and is not paying for his own meals so he is exposed to lot's of fancy food. When he is at home, in Denver, he has to pay his own bill to experience fine dining and chooses not do so. He takes his home town for granted. Chili's needs guys like Klatt and Denver's fine dining restaurants are doing just fine without him. Denver may not be New Orleans when it comes dining, but few cities are and Denver is no slouch.

ScubaSteve topcommenter

I wonder if Joel Klatt is aware of the fact that Popeye's Chicken was founded and originally based in New Orleans.


KC, LA, and those other places are covered in chain restaurants. Just because we *have* chains doesn't mean that's *all* we have. Jeez.


holy crap you write articles too? 


Does he mean it doesn't have an indigenous cuisine? Hell, New York City doesn't really have its own cuisine; its greatness lies in its diversity. The distinct regional cuisines of the US are really pretty few and far between—New England, Creole/Cajun and other Southern, Southwestern, maybe a few others. (When "New York" is used as a descriptor for a restaurant, it's usually a pizzeria—so Italian in origin, not New York per se—or a delicatessen, so Eastern European in nature.) Does he mean conversely we don't have enough diversity? Well, there's only so much you can do about geography/demographics, but he should try looking around, say, Aurora a little more.  

Now Trending

From the Vault