When Eater first launched, taking a bite out of the Big Apple in 2005, food blogs were still in their infancy. But it wasn't long before Ben Levanthal and Lockhart Steele, the site's founders, spread across state lines, adding several more major metropolises to Eater's collection of culinary capitals with notable food scenes: Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Miami, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Austin, Dallas, Houston and New Orleans are now all part of the Eater empire. And as of today, so is Denver.
Eater Denver's website went live bright and early this morning, and the more than ten pages of content, much of it culled from local sites, including Westword, the Denver Post and the Denver Business Journal, also pimp a few original stories by local Eater editor Lauren Hendrick, who just graduated from the French Culinary Institute in New York. "I'm a young, fresh voice and really passionate about and familiar with the industry, and I love reading and writing about food," she says.
And Steele, who's visited Denver on several occasions, insists that the time was right to finally launch this city's site. "I've spent plenty of time in Denver, most recently in 2010, and we had some really great meals when we were there. It was clear that Denver was ready to be on the Eater map, and Denver food news kept bubbling up and getting louder, a sign that it was time to hire a local editor," he explains.
"We're excited to pull the cover off and let people have at it," he says, adding that the site will eventually be a mix of 50 percent aggregated content and 50 percent original content, none of which will be restaurant reviews or food porn. "From the very beginning, we said no food porn or restaurant reviews -- there are already people doing that really well, so there's no reason for us to do it," he notes. But there will "always be a gossip component to the sites, because that's part of why it's so intriguing to people." And each local editor, he adds, "shapes the tone."
While Eater may be biting into the same culinary scene that Cafe Society covers, Denver's dining landscape is busting at the seams -- just like a Chipotle burrito -- and there's plenty for all. The fact that Eater has added Denver to its portfolio just documents the fact that this is a city that deserves -- has long deserved -- as much recognition as it can get.
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I've been keeping my toes crossed that Eater would eventually come to Denver, and I couldn't be happier that it's finally here. "We always go into markets where we have competition," admits Steele, "but we all feed each other."
Kind of like a family meal. We'll drink to that.