Best of Denver® 2013
Our first Best of Denver hit the streets in 1984, almost seven years after this paper published its first edition in 1977. It was the biggest issue of Westword up to that point – and about the size of an average weekly edition today. We were still a decade away from archiving our print stories on westword.com, two decades away from pushing our Readers' Poll vote there, three decades away from today, when we publish dozens of new stories on the web every day, including Best of Denver lists that highlight not just past winners, but top contenders this year.
From the start, we made the cow the symbol of the Best of Denver. Back in the about-to-bust oil boom of 1984, city boosters were worried that Denver's cowtown reputation was holding us back. From what? Scraping away more of our past, maybe. Building high-rises that could be in Anytown, USA. But the subsequent economic downturn actually helped preserve much of what makes this city so great today. While blocks of central downtown had already been turned into parking lots, the old warehouse district at the northwest edge soon became the Lower Downtown Historic District, and today those Victorian buildings are filled with restaurants and residences, bars and other businesses. And with suburban sprawl temporarily stymied, counties around Denver could acquire more open space, creating parks where residents now bike and hike – and enjoy unobstructed vistas that might otherwise have been interrupted by subdivisions. Uninterrupted vistas where buffalo -- and cattle -- once roamed.
Over the years, residents –- native and newcomers alike -- have come to recognize that this city's Western history is one of the things that makes Denver special, and even get a boot out of it. And the Best of Denver has turned into a giant beast that celebrates everything we love about this city, including its cowtown heritage.
Still, you can teach an old cow new tricks, as we proved this year when, for the first time, we divided our Best of Denver Readers' Poll into two rounds of voting – listing the leading vote-getters in the second round, and encouraging even more participation. Thousands of readers brought out their best for this year's edition; their picks are listed at the end of our own editorial choices. And we've made another switch: Where you'd traditionally find our People and Places section, you'll now find Colorado Classics -- thirty of the individuals, institutions and enterprises that were celebrated in one of our thirty Best of Denver issues and still deserve to be honored today.
Find more Best of Denver® winners:
- Best Unofficial Public ArtThe Big Blue Bear Takes a Big Blue Dump
- Best Sanctioned Yarnbomb"Fancygasm," Ladies Fancywork Society
- Best Gallery Show — SoloPlace
- Best Community Art Show — BoulderMuseum of Broken Relationships
- Best Community Art Show — DenverOpen for Design
- Best Pop-Up GalleryDikeou Pop-Up Space
- Best Civic MakeoverMcNichols Building
- Best Pop-Up Shop in a MuseumDesign Within Denver
- Best Graphic Novel by a Local ArtistThe Hypo: The Melancholic Young Lincoln, by Noah Van Sciver
- Best New Book by a Colorado AuthorThe Drowned Cities, by Paolo Bacigalupi
- Best Gallery in a Pot ShopGroundSwell Gallery
- Best Group of Shows by a Bunch of KidsEstee Fox, David Sole, Harry Kleeman and Daniel Nilsson
- Best Japanese RestaurantLand of Sushi
- Best Seafood RestaurantJax Fish House
- Best Sushi RestaurantSushi Sasa
- Best Breakfast Burrito — Eat InJalapeños Mexican Restaurant
- Best SteakhouseShanahan's
- Best Steak Outside a SteakhouseTrillium
- Best Vegetarian RestaurantWaterCourse Foods
- Best Cheap SteakBull & Bush
- Best Consignment Store for Twenty-SomethingsUptown Cheapskate
- Best Teen-Friendly BoutiqueTwirl
- Best Confluence of CoutureGoldyn
- Best Fashion Swap ShopBirds & Belles Boutique
- Best Vintage StoreThe Amazing Garage Sale
- Best Local TV CommercialRocky's Autos
- Best Thrift StoreWishlist Vintage
- Best Neighborhood Shopping DistrictBaker/South Broadway
- Best Mile-High RecommendationPot Tourism
- Best Use of the SunGrassroots Grown
- Best Name for a Medical Marijuana DispensaryTerrapin Care Station
- Best Name for a Tattoo-Removal ServiceWhat Were You Inking?
- Best Name for a Tattoo ShopTh'Ink Tank Tattoo
- Best Name for a Hair SalonMop Factory Salon
- Best Day Spa for Your BuckHavana Health Spa
- Best Old-School BarbershopLeetsdale Barbers
- Best RockieCarlos Gonzalez
- Best Sports Bar for Watching GamesChopper's Sports Grill
- Best Sports Bar for Playing GamesBlake Street Tavern
- Best Roller Derby SkaterSandrine "Francey Pants" Rangeon
- Best Sports Bar for Food and DrinkHighland Tap & Burger
- Best Roller Derby TeamMile High Club
- Best Under-Eighteen Roller Derby TeamRocky Mountain Rollerpunks
- Best Roller Derby NameFiona Grapple
- The Ten Best New Restaurants in Denver
- The Best of Denver 2015: Music Winners
- Why Mercantile Dining & Provision Is the Best New Restaurant
- Another Taste of Our Best New Restaurants, 2010-2014
- A Look Back at Our Best New Restaurants, 2005-2009
- Last Chance to Vote on Best Annual Festival, Best Arts District and More
- Reader: Best Italian Restaurants Include Panzano, Parisi, Colore, Romano's
- Announcing the Finalists for the 2015 Best of Denver Readers' Poll
- Polls Close Sunday Night for the First Round of Best of Denver Voting
- Twelve Best Chef's Counters in Denver
- Best of Denver 2015 Readers' Poll: Tell Us Your Favorites!
- Best of Denver 2015 Readers' Poll: Nominate Your Favorite Bands and Venues!
- Best of Denver 2015 Readers' Poll: Dish Up Your Favorites!
- Ten Best Commercial Signs on Central Colfax