Colorado Via Chicago

That's when James Mazzio left Colorado for Chicago, where he took on a chef's gig for a restaurant that didn't yet exist and spent a year waiting for its owner to get his shit together before giving up and coming home. And then what line did he walk onto? Via's—with its battered staff and reputation and menu perfectly suited for a suburban Iowa strip mall.

I asked him once why he'd done it.

He told me he thought it would be fun.

Double bat-shit crazy, all the way."

That's the Via story, in a nutshell -- a tale of misery, redemption and conchiglie with smoked chicken in Pecorino cream sauce. For all the details, check out this week's review of Via. And when you're done with that, you can read all about the Best of Denver fallout in Bite Me, come along with me on a late-night trip to Viva Burrito for shitfaced drive-thru breakfast burritos, and see what chef Sean Yontz has been up to at Chama -- Denver's second-best restaurant for just about all things Mexican. -- Jason Sheehan

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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