Thrown for a loop: Not surprisingly, it was in a bar that John Hickenlooper, an owner of the Wynkoop Brewing Company, came up with the idea of paying a $5,000 bounty to whoever introduced him to the future Mrs. Hickenlooper. So far, though, all the scheme's paid off with is an appearance on Donohue for Hickenlooper, girlfriend Devany McNeill and the fellow who insists he's responsible for their meeting, Ken Gart (even though Hickenlooper was fourth on a list of eligible friends that Gart gave Devany). The show, which discussed a variety of ways to locate mates, aired in Denver at 9 a.m. on July 25--and was bumped within twenty minutes for live coverage of the Mideast peace-accord signing. But even in that short amount of time, Hickenlooper managed to interject one blatant plug for his restaurant, another reference to the pool hall above the bar and a gratuitous quip about the rejuvenating qualities of beer. Phil Donohue, in a nod to a man whose promotional abilities outshine even his own, promised Hickenlooper that the entire audience would head to the Wynkoop after the taping. (Actually, the Wynkoop may be showing the entire episode at an August 3 happy hour; call the restaurant for details.)

On the run: A place that hasn't done much promoting at all--in fact, I only heard about it from a co-worker--is Savory Concepts, at 1818 East Colfax Avenue. I was looking for a restaurant where I could pick up a decent meal (not fast food) on my way home, and Savory Concepts fit the bill. It offers about a dozen entrees, all boxed up either hot--good for a car picnic or if you live at 1820 East Colfax--or packaged in an aluminum-foil container that can be popped in the oven. I opted for the hot salmon Alfredo ($7) and was surprised to find a thick, nicely baked piece of fish sitting atop soft linguine coated with only-slightly-gummy Alfredo. Steamed zucchini, summer squash and tomatoes rode sidesaddle. The key to making use of Savory Concepts is to call ahead, because the kitchen prepares much of the food in advance and may run out of things by Friday.

A better way to spend your Fridays, though, is at Charlie Brown's Bar and Grill, at 980 Grant, for the great happy-hour food that starts at 4:30 p.m. When you buy a drink (your first beer is a two-fer-one deal), you get a plateful of just-roasted pork. Yep, they torch a whole pig out on the front porch, and boy, is it greasy and juicy and fabulous. But get there early, because it goes fast--and get there soon, because they only do it during the summer.

Ch-ch-ch-changes: Benny's Cantina, at 4001 Tejon, the northwest Denver offshoot of Benny's at 301 East Seventh Avenue, has closed. According to an employee, it will be remodeled and reopen in about six weeks--when the fare is likely to be pool and barbecued ribs...The Rocky Mountain News's recent "Page 2" rehash of top restaurants from the Zagat guide included Cafe Milan as a top Italian stop. In 1993, maybe. It's now closed.


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