Food vendors and the Downtown Business Improvement District are joining forces to create a new dining experience on the 16th Street Mall: Patio 16. Tomorrow the median between California and Stout streets will be transformed into Patio 16, a spot where diners can try out 16th Street's crew of food carts. Wikipita, Gigi's Cupcakes, Totally Tots, Sons of Scullery, Denver Brats & Dogs and Pretzel Street will all be serving on the patio. Think of them as the Justice League, and Patio 16 as the Hall of Justice.
"It's part of the 'core block strategy' to address three-and-a-half blocks of the mall that need some positive activation," says Jenny Starkey, media relations manager at the Downtown Denver Partnership. The median where Patio 16 is taking up residence has already been a culinary corner for some time, one of the blocks with the biggest number and variety of food offerings. Now Patio 16 will make the block's culinary cred official with a designated space to sit, eat and relax, filled with rows of tables and chairs, and fenced off as a patio where the carts can crowd around.
The patio will also make the vendors available beyond their normal hours. "These vendors are really committed to the program, and they're willing to operate for expended periods of time," Starkey says. "This is a pilot project, to see what happens when we keep commerce on the mall throughout the early evenings and into the night." Patio 16 will also be made available as a place where downtown eateries can seat their patrons, making it sort of a community table for a cross-section of downtown restaurants.
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The patio officially opens tomorrow at 11 a.m., when there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by live music and entertainment with samples from the six vendors. Through the fall pilot season, Patio 16 will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and noon to 9 p.m. Saturday.