A Date at 8 Rivers

The new restaurant is small -- a shotgun storefront in the middle of the Highland Square action, surrounded by boutiques, bookstores, galleries and other restaurants, with seating for thirty, maybe, a small patio and a loud sound system that plays non-stop reggae that drifts out into the street and down the block. It’s an unassuming place. You could pass it a dozen times without even thinking of stopping in until the one afternoon when you’re feeling a little Bob Marley, a little oxtail-with butter-beans, and then suddenly you’ll hear “One Love” scratching at your ear, catch a fortunate breeze carrying the scent of charred pimento, the smoky-sweet and peppery odor of jerk blackening on a grill and, next thing you know, you’re three pints of rum punch to the wind, your pockets stuffed with fried shrimp jacketed in a stinging Scotch Bonnet batter, demanding Jamaican beef patties for dessert from the tattooed waitress working the floor.

Or maybe that’s just me…

Chef-owner Scott Durrah has come a long way to bring his Jamaican restaurant to Denver. From the city of Boston to Boston Bay, from Santa Monica to Superior, Colorado, Durrah has made the rounds. And now, we’re fortunate enough to have him here, jerking his pork just for us at 8 Rivers, which I review this week.

In Bite Me, I've got the scoop on Boulder’s ice cream man, Peter Arendsen, and Westminster’s magic man, Ian Kleinman. There’s also news from James Mazzio and Strings. And finally, in Second Helpings, I revisit Julia Blackbird’s, which I once listed among my least favorite restaurants in the entire city.

The more things change… -- Jason Sheehan

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun