Sweet Leaf had a very good 4/20. So good, in fact, that the owners of the Colorado dispensary company told vice president Nichole West to plan a big thank-you party for the cannabis industry. "We crushed it, and just wanted to say thank you to all of our vendors," West explains. "They send their people, they send free gear, and their teams really give us the opportunity to have such a great 4/20."
So Sweet Leaf decided to throw a series of monthly, invite-only First Friday events, "bringing the industry together at a quality party," West says. The first was on June 2; the second will be this Friday, July 7, at the Metlo, an old motel-turned-office building at 1111 Broadway that's becoming a major marijuana-party venue as well as a new-business incubator. (The Metlo is also the site of the Mile High Marijuana Showcase every Sunday this summer.)
While many attendees at the initial First Friday party were familiar faces in Colorado's cannabis scene, one was definitely new to that crew, albeit familiar to Denver diners: Longtime restaurateur Cliff Young is catering the monthly events with his son, Zach, putting out spreads of dishes both hot and cold, from lobster ravioli to salads. "A lot of people here really care about organic," says Cliff, who's better known for the fine-dining fare he's served at spots ranging from the fondly remembered Cliff Young's to the current CY Steak.
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For the July party, Young promises a menu that will include various types of barbecue, along with pink salmon and a fresh gelato bar boasting strawberry, Palisade peach and Ecuadorean chocolate versions. "Cliff and Zach really know how to throw a soirée," says West.
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This might be Young's first foray into the scene, but it won't be his last. He and Zach are partnering with restaurant designer Jeff Katz, Sweet Leaf and Evolaab on HighEnd, a company that will cater high-end, marijuana-friendly private dinners. "We're kind of practicing at these five rooftop markets," Cliff says. "We get to actually experience the response of a largely millennial generation."
And also do good at the same time: The parties aren't just giving back to industry insiders, but collecting donations for the Weed for Warriors Project. West has set a goal of collecting $50,000 during the summer series.
You won't be able to contribute at the party unless you get an invitation, of course. But you can learn more and give to Weed for Warriors on its website.