Reader: If you're looking for "local regional fare," forget it here

Categories: Cafe Society

Bah humbug! While visions of local sugarplums were dancing in most Denver diners' heads, one Scrooge took issue with the Denver culinary scene -- and Colorado's image outside of the state.

See also:
Balls! What does Colorado taste like to you?

Says one Denver diner:

If you look at old food purveyor guides, from the earlier 20th Century, you will find reference to Rocky Ford Cantaloupe, Loveland Cherries and Celery from Arvada. Arvada was considered the celery capital of the US for the blanched celery that they produced. When I came here that product was still produced by small growers -- it is no more. Loveland Cherries disappeared as from a virus and competition. Rocky Ford cantaloupe may be locally championed but I do not think it has obtained national significance as other products such as Georgia peaches. Of course, cantaloupe's popularity may be on its deathbed.

It takes time for food products to gain a uniqueness and Colorado is a fairly new state. It takes marketing and taking the product out from the generic commodity market to a unique value added product over time. So, that Beef is commodity, but Angus Beef is value added. Buffalo was not readily and easily available when I arrived but over time, there has been growth in producers -- but I do not think it has reached the celebrated state of a value added Colorado unique product.

Micro-brews. I pretty much grew up here and the only thing I can think of as "Colorado-style" is when you walk into a chain Mexican restaurant and they have "Spanish rice" on the menu. I've never known what Spanish rice is and I love Mexican food. And everything is "smothered" unless you beg the waitress to "hold the smothering,please."

I've never eaten Elk or Bison. Or Rocky Mountain Oysters.

I'm saying "Colorado-style" is the lack of absolutely killer Italian like you'd get in NYC, or New Mexican-style food like you get in NM, or other regional specialties (hot dogs in New Jersey, Philly Cheese Steaks in...what's that city's name...) but boy do we have every chain restaurant in the world!

That said, I think there's great food to be had here. Some of the best beer in the world, as well. But if you're looking for "local regional fare," forget it here.

Bah humbug! What do you think of our local regional fare? And what is Colorado-style to you?

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Denver does have some notable restaurants, but only a handful compared to the size of the city. Once you leave the central part the overall quality drops. Yes, there`s a Farro, or a Pho on Federal, but one must pick & choose.Chains definitely ruin the overall balance of quality, need more independents !


The food here is awful.  Period.  There's nothing that would draw anyone to come here for food, it's barely tolerable as it is.  I know people are proud of their state, blah, blah, blah, and rightly so.  Colorado is lovely and has a lot of attributes, food is not one of them.  Bland would be one way to describe it.  You don't know what good food tastes like because you've had to suffer with this crap all your life, so do yourself a favor and go somewhere, anywhere, and taste in what you're missing.


@Jake Have you ever actually *lived* anywhere else, or just been a tourist? Because I can guarantee you the big population in this state who have actually lived other places (NYC is not the only place in America) will tell you that the restaurants in Denver and Boulder far exceed the quality of those in most cities elsewhere. I've lived in many different places across the United States and Denver is the one place I've lived where people look at restaurants differently. Anywhere else you go, Chili's, Olive Garden, Outback Steakhouse and Applebee's are essentially the only restaurants in most people's personal rolodex. Not here. For that, I consider Denver one of the top restaurant cities in America.

Denver Dave
Denver Dave topcommenter

@Jake Well, to each his (or her) own but as someone who spends a good portion of the year elsewhere I think that there are a handful of places that are as crave-worthy as any in more highly regarded culinary meccas in the US.  For example, Frasca Food and Wine, Z Cuisine, Fruition, and Sushi Den are all perfectly worthy of any place on the national stage IMO.

Mantonat topcommenter

@Denver Dave @Jake Jake would never eat at any of those places because he's only 12. He's just upset because his mom went paleo and won't buy him Hot Pockets anymore. A little ironic since both Hot Pockets and Dr. Loren Cordain, founder of the paleo movement, are both Colorado originals.

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