Joel Klatt gets schooled in the Denver dining scene over dinner at Squeaky Bean

Categories: Fast Food

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Lori Midson
Joel Klatt, Mark Antonation and Squeaky Bean owner Johnny Ballen.
In advance of the Super Bowl, 104.3 The Fan morning sports commentator Joel Klatt declared that Denver was a chain restaurant town without a unique food culture. In the course of the subsequent Twitter barrage, chef Paul Reilly of the soon-to-open Beast + Bottle jumped to Denver's defense with this: "@joelklatt @mantonat Fair enough. I absolutely think DEN has better restaurants than KC or STL #culinarymovement#foodietown."

After that, I reached out to Klatt, hoping to educate him about the dining opportunities here. And he agreed to meet for dinner at the restaurant of my choice to discuss the Denver dining scene and, hopefully, experience culinary proof that this city can hold its own against other American foodie destinations -- including New Orleans, Kansas City and Austin -- that he'd named during his morning drive-time show.

See also:
- Is Denver a chain-restaurant town? 104.3 FM's Joel Klatt thinks so, but we disagree
- Chef and Tell with Max Mackissock of Squeaky Bean

- Johnny Ballen, the bionic man behind Squeaky Bean

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

Categories: Fast Food

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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


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No "McJob" here: Why Cody Teets was voted most likely to marry Ronald McDonald

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McDonald's has long had a bad rap for offering low-paying, entry-level work, spawning the pejorative term "McJob." But Cody Teets recently authored a book, Golden Opportunity: Remarkable Careers That Began at McDonald's, about her jobs under the Golden Arches, where she started as a cashier in 1982 and is now the vice president and general manager of the Rocky Mountain region for McDonald's USA, responsible for nearly 800 restaurants.

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Five chicken sandwiches to eat in Denver while you're boycotting Chick-fil-A

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The Franklin from the Denver Biscuit Company.
Odds are good that "chicken" isn't the first thing most people think of when they consider a sandwich. After all, there are so many other kinds of sammies that get higher billing: pastrami and Italian sandwiches, turkey and egg salad, meatball, roast beef and BLTs. Even peanut butter and jelly.

But still, there are plenty of chicken-sandwich fans out there, judging from all the white-breast-beating over Chick-fil-A these days. If you're one of those who's boycotting the chain, here are five chicken-sandwich alternatives:

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Five discontinued fast-food items I want back

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Taco Bell's menu, circa 1970s.
It never fails: Just when I become emotionally -- and occasionally physically -- attached to a certain fast-food item, the corporate overlords snatch it away like fiendish villains in a Joss Whedon movie (or one of his TV shows that hasn't been cancelled prematurely). Okay, so some items don't sell as well as others, but what's that compared to the disheartened inconvenience that we faithful fast-foodies are forced to endure when we all have to learn to love new things? What about the delicious cheesy, beefy, crunchy, oniony and frozen-yogurty old things?

Here's my list of five discontinued fast-food items that I want back. And why not bring them back? The chains can just market them as "retro," which will make them very hip.

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Taco Bell's "Cantina Bell" menu may make Chipotle a little nervous

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J. Wohletz
Taco Bell is going upscale? When I heard this, I thought it was a joke -- and the Demolition Man lines were coming hard and fast.

Still, it's true: Taco Bell has officially announced that it's taking on fast-casual Mexican food chains like our own Chipotle with the July 5 rollout of its "Cantina Bell" menu. The Bell recruited America's Next Great Restaurant chef Lorena Garcia to create new menu items like the Cantina Burrito Bowl and Cantina Burrito, which will be made with never-before-Belled ingredients like black beans, fire-roasted corn salsa, cilantro rice, pico de gallo and citrus- and herb-marinated chicken.

Should the folks at Chipotle be worried?


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Burger King's new bacon sundae -- thievery for no good reason

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When you are a thief, like Burger King, you have two possible paths to success: 1) be a really good thief and don't get caught, or 2) steal something big and pricey so you can retire early and faff around with the piss-ant stuff.

I couldn't help but think of this when I saw BK consistently and blatantly purloining the idea its new bacon sundae -- currently in test markets until it decides to unleash it on the fast-food scene.


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Depressed about Tax Day? Here are a couple of deals to cheer you up

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Today is the deadline for filing taxes with the Internal Revenue Service. In hopes of easing the pain, a couple of local eateries -- one high-end, one decidedly low -- are offering Tax Day deals. Just remember to hold on to the receipts!

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Chick-Fil-A rolls out new desserts

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Chick-Fil-A, known for its iconic cow billboards and fried chicken patties iconically nestled between biscuits, is sweetening up its dessert menu by offering a new cookie, an updated brownie and several sundaes; it's also bringing back its seasonally available Banana Pudding Milkshake starting today.

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New Jack in the Box opens today in Denver

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Jack in the Box, home of good curly fries and notoriously bad tacos, is opening a new store today at 2020 South Federal Boulevard. Doors open at 9 a.m. with an inaugural fiesta including giveaways.

This is the second in a series of new, improved Jacks to pop up in the metro area. The California-based chain had left the area altogether a dozen years ago, then started its Colorado comeback several years ago.

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