"I've worked in restaurants my whole life," says Mario Nocifera, who co-owns Lower48 with business partner and executive chef Alex Figura; the pair met while working at Frasca Food and Wine. "I've always wanted to build a restaurant -- that's been my dream for years -- and our goal is to continue to make Denver a great dining destination; we're striving to be great regionally, and we want to be a part of why people go on destination food trips." And they’ve succeeded. Four months after they opened Lower48 Kitchen in the sleek new 2020 Lawrence building at the edge of the Ballpark neighborhood, Westword named it the Best New Restaurant in the Best of Denver 2014. And recent menu tweaks have only made it better. Why should food this good be reserved for special occasions? Fortunately, with Lower48’s menu format -– which puts control in diners’ hands with two-dollar bites and refined yet affordable small plates -– it doesn’t have to be.