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BEST MENU, PERIOD Denver 2006 - Nine75

Nine75 -- the original Nine75, soon to be joined by at least two sibling restaurants -- has had some ups and downs since it opened in the former home of Moda. There was a period when the house was struggling to find its niche, a longer period where it was trying to get found by the kind of customers who'd be charmed by chef Troy Guard's smart, freaky, arrogant, sideways Asian-American-European menu of jumped-up comfort foods and straight-genius small plates. And then the customers started coming. Lunches were added, and people grew accustomed to the tragically backward arrangement of the space. And now, finally, Nine75 is in an upswing, with Guard having suddenly crossed from struggling artist to certified success story. With a triumphant James Beard dinner behind him and a lineup of new openings on the horizon, he's taken his rightful place as one of the smartest and most innovative chefs in the city. The only question now is, what comes next?
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