I had lunch plans that were made weeks ago. I had a time and a date, a big group of friends, a table waiting out on the patio. What I didn't have? Any idea that today was the day the Denver Post was going to drop the love on my new favorite north Denver American Indian fry- bread outfit: Tocabe.
But it did. And while the piece by Electa Draper that graced the cover of today's Post food section wasn't exactly a review (because seriously, who writes those things anymore?), it was a front-page story nonetheless, and the crowds turned out.
"We usually have a pretty good lunch," one of the waitresses said when asked about the crowds. "What we don't usually have are people lined up outside the door before we open."
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Still, even though the crowd of customers (at around noon, they were lined up all the way from the counter to the front door, with every table in the house already filled) didn't affect our lunch because we'd been wise enough to call ahead days ahead, there was one very telling detail about the assembled throng that I'll bet says something about the Post's circulation.
The average age in the dining room? About 700. And that's including the statistical aberration of two infants in the place,which completely blew the curve. And while, yes, it could be argued that perhaps the elderly have become the new trendsetters in the food world since they're the only ones with any money left (do you know how much you can get on the street for some of those prescription pills grandma is carrying?), I think it's more likely that the Post's numbers are falling simply because those still carrying daily newspaper subscriptions -- and therefore those who would've seen the Tocabe article early enough this morning to come shambling up to the front doors before 11 a.m.--are turning to dust in alarming numbers.
All that aside, lunch at Tocabe was as awesome as it was when I reviewed the joint back in April. As overwhelmed as they were, the guys in the kitchen were killing it, the counter help burning through the crowds like veterans. And right before my friends and I decided to pack it in for the afternoon, guess who we saw walking the floor with a very satisfied smile on his face? Joe Vostrejs -- one of the partners at Tocabe and the owner of the building in which it lives.
I've got no doubt that Vostrejs was having a good day. And with the kind of turn-out this first Tocabe was seeing, I can only hope that the process of finding a location for a second one will go even faster.