Reader: Here's my new restaurant concept, Ampersand & Ampersand

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Inside Acorn, one of our ten best new restaurants of the past year.
In anticipation of the Best of Denver 2014, which hits the streets on March 27, yesterday Cafe Society unveiled our list of the ten best new restaurants in Denver, one of which will be named Best New Restaurant in the upcoming issue. In keeping with our policy of not reviewing a restaurant before it's at least two months old, our best new restaurants list includes only spots that opened before the end of 2013 -- presented in alphabetical order. But, as always, there were quibbles with the selection...and with some current trends on the dining scene.

See also: The ten best new restaurants in Denver

Says Chef_Hyp:

My own new restaurant concept, Ampersand & Ampersand, is set to drop in River North this Summer.

It's farm to tail, local ingredients only, with a focus on pork and bacon and a massive selection of craft brews.

Currently seeking a cuttingedge mixologist and kitchen staff (bearded white males only).

Sounds like a satiric hit, chef, and certain to make our list of the ten best new restaurants of 2014.

But in the meantime, what restaurants did you welcome to the Denver dining scene over the past year? What hidden gems did we miss? Post your nominations in the comments section below, and vote in our Best of Denver Readers' Poll here.



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6 comments
bondadprevalece
bondadprevalece

I'm not really a cynic, but it does seem like as long as a restaurant is associated with a bartender/chef friend of Westword, it gets accolades. Of course, maybe bartenders/chefs are friends with Westword because Westword gave them accolades first, but it is a bit suspicious.

Bagwhan
Bagwhan

@bondadprevalece People get a name because they do things (food, cocktails) that others find good and interesting.  So when they move to a new project, it's natural that the new project gets coverage in the local food blogs. And I don't know how you can tell which ones are "friends" of Westword; I'm not even sure what that means.  Lori (and Patricia and others?) surely need to cultivate the local relationships in order to do their jobs well.  I don't see how it's avoidable (though of course WW needs to be careful about favoritism when they know the people in question).  To me, WW seems to write about places that are getting buzz, and sure, at times WW seems to help create that buzz.  But unless you feel like worthy places are getting panned or ignored or unworthy places are getting attention, something you notably do not allege here, then I don't see a problem (though of course everyone has an opinion, and sometimes disagrees with reviewers, that's normal and not problematic).

Mantonat
Mantonat topcommenter

@bondadprevalece  Interesting theory. I'm totally a cynic and skeptic, but how would explain last year's winner, Uncle? Until the restaurant opened, nobody had ever heard of the chef/owner. It blossomed into a Westword favorite because it was good food in a fun and hip setting.


In general, if you look at the list of past "best of" winners, there are plenty of industry giants like Bonanno and Troy Guard winning categories, but there are also plenty of places that just happen to anonymously and consistently turn out great food.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Mantonat @bondadprevalece  


There's always an outlier to the average.


Look how many times Lori covered and publicized Slotted Spoon ... before it was ever open. Pre-construction concept, Design, Early Construction, Mid Construction, Almost finished, nearly open, opening soon, finally open. 

Mantonat
Mantonat topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay  So going back to the original comment, Slotted Spoon got a lot of original coverage, but did that translate into "accolades," as bondadprevalece mentioned? Perhaps the coverage was an attempt to get some good coverage of a potential "next big thing." Imagine that you were a food journalist in 1993 just before some no-name dude calls you up (or you happen to know him) and tells you he's opening burrito place with a hard-to-pronounce name, like say, Chipotle. If you'd given it a ton of coverage back then, it would look pretty good on your resume now. It probably has a lot less to do with who's friends with who than with what you think is likely to generate reader interest and what you think might be a big story. Although I'm really just speculating because I'm not a journalist.

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