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Ten Ways the Denver Restaurant Scene Has Changed Over 100 Reviews

The kitchen at The Kitchen Denver, subject of Gretchen Kurtz's first review.
The kitchen at The Kitchen Denver, subject of Gretchen Kurtz's first review.
Mark Manger

When you hit a hundred, it's time to celebrate. And while I'm far from getting my picture on a Smucker's Jar on the Today Show, I'm closing in on a milestone of another sort: my hundredth review here. It won't be published for a few more weeks, but in the meantime, I'll be chiming in with thoughts on what it's like to hit the century mark as Westword's restaurant critic.

If we were having a party, someone would pull out home movies and framed pictures of the early years, and we'd gawk at funny collars and hairstyles. Instead, I'm offering a snapshot of what Denver's food scene looked like when I started two years ago... See also: New Cafe critic Gretchen Kurtz dishes up a few words about her philosophy

When I wrote my first review in September 2012:

Pork belly at Harman's Eat and Drink.
Pork belly at Harman's Eat and Drink.
Danielle Lirette

1) Pork belly was bigger than oysters.

Spaghetti at DiFranco's.
Spaghetti at DiFranco's.
Danielle Lirette

2) People still ordered entrees.

Old wood at Old Major.
Old wood at Old Major.
Lori Midson

3) Barn wood was for barns.

Sweetbreads at Dish in Vail.
Sweetbreads at Dish in Vail.
Lori Midson

4) Offal was poised to be anything but awful. Keep reading for seven more changes on the dining scene.

 

Voodoo Doughnuts
Voodoo Doughnuts
Danielle Lirette

5) Donuts were for cops, and cupcakes were king.

The Kitchen Next Door Glendale.
The Kitchen Next Door Glendale.
Danielle Lirette

6) Glendale was a place you drove through on your way to Target or I-25, Ballpark was shorthand for where the Rockies play, and the only reason you went down Brighton Boulevard was if you were lost. Exaggeration? Yes -- but only a little bit.

Andrew Jackson burger at TAG Burger Bar.
Andrew Jackson burger at TAG Burger Bar.
Danielle Lirette

7) Burgers were big. Oh, right, they still are. Keep reading for three more changes on the dining scene.

 

Pan con lechon at Cuba Cuba Sandwicheria.
Pan con lechon at Cuba Cuba Sandwicheria.
Danielle Lirette

8) Fast casuals were for sandwiches and burritos, not trained chefs.

Lower48 Kitchen, the best restaurant to open in 2013.
Lower48 Kitchen, the best restaurant to open in 2013.

9) The more than 600 restaurants and bars that have debuted since then were only a twinkle in somebody's eye.

The interior of Work & Class.
The interior of Work & Class.
Danielle Lirette

10) Ampersands were just another punctuation mark, no hipper than the semicolon.



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