Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Elway's, Udi's and Cru proposals for DIA approved by council committee for vote

Denver International Airport has always been sadly lacking a real taste of Colorado cuisine (witness the cup of Nobel Sysco green chile I downed on Concourse A last Friday). And that makes the presentation before Denver City Council's Business, Workforce and Sustainability Committee yesterday particularly heartening: Seven new vendors have applied to join the 140 already at DIA, including several local restaurants -- Elway's among them.

The committee voted unanimously to send the agreements to the full council and Mayor Michael B. Hancock for final approval this month.

"These new concessions, many of them local to Colorado, will give passengers a taste of Denver without leaving the airport," said Aviation Manager Kim Day in announcing the agreements. "We strive to balance local and national brands with our retail and dining options at DIA. This announcement is a great example of that effort, as well as our commitment to creating jobs and stoking the airport's economic engine."

Here are the four food-and-drink related enterprises, along with the description supplied by DIA.

Elway's (B Gates)

Uniquely Colorado, Elway's is the ideal setting for any occasion. Their special DIA menu will feature signature items from Elway's original menu such as USDA hand cut prime steaks, fresh fish, and much more. The 3,000 square foot full service restaurant and bar will have an extensive wine selection. Elway's will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Udi's Café and Bar (B Gates)

Udi's, which began in Denver, will open their sixth café location at DIA. Emphasizing fresh, natural ingredients and simple authentic dishes, they serve made to order salads, paninis, burgers, and sandwiches on Udi's artisan and gluten free breads. At the full service bar guests will enjoy beers on tap and by the bottle (including gluten free beers),10 selections of absinthe from around the world, and signature cocktails.

Crú A Wine Bar (B Gates)

At Crú Food and Wine Bar, selections include a broad and ever changing list of wines available by the bottle, in tasting flights or by the glass in a comfortable, elegant atmosphere. The food menu includes shared appetizers, individual sized gourmet pizzas, domestic cheeses, panini sandwiches and desserts that pair with wine. Crú Food and Wine Bar has been the annual recipient of the Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator magazine since 2004.

Vino Volo (C Gates)

Vino Volo aims to revolutionize how people experience wine. Vino Volo (derived from "wine flight" in Italian) offers a selection of Colorado, regional, and international wines by the glass, in tasting flights, and by the bottle. This store combines a cozy wine lounge, restaurant, and tasting bar into a post-security retreat for air travelers. In addition to a selection of gourmet plates, Vino Volo offers wine-related retail gift items. Vino Volo has taken airport service to a new level, and was recognized for "Highest Regard for Customer Service" from the aviation trade industry for the last five years in a row.

The other three? A spa, and two women's stores -- one of them named TAGS evolution, but sadly, no relation to the restaurant TAG.

Still, there's room for more vendors at DIA -- and one of our local craft-beer brewers should take a cue from Vino Volo, and open a bar where customers can buy growlers and cans of Colorado craft beer that tourists can take back home. What better souvenir of this state?