Bodega Opening Second Denver Location in Novel RiNo Building | Westword

Bodega Is Opening a Second Location in Novel RiNo

It's been a hit since opening in Sunnyside in 2022 and now its second location is set to debut this fall.
Bodega has been a hit since debuting in 2022.
Bodega has been a hit since debuting in 2022. Bodega
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"We're just excited to have more fun — to play a little more with food and continue the evolution," says Cliff Blauvelt, who opened Bodega at 2651 West 38th Avenue in 2022.

Since then, the neighborhood eatery that dishes up creative sandwiches and more for breakfast and lunch has gained a lot of fans — it now has nearly 15,000 followers on Instagram, and usually has a line during peak hours, particularly on weekends.

"We just kind of do what we want. We didn't play it safe — we came in and did it our way and gained the trust of the community and the guests," Blauvelt says of the eatery's success so far. Now he's hoping to build on that momentum with a second Bodega, set to open in the new Novel RiNo building this fall.

The original Bodega is in Sunnyside, where Blauvelt grew up, and he has personal ties to the area where the new outpost will be as well. The mixed-use development at 1350 40th Street is technically in the Cole neighborhood, which is where the chef/owner currently lives. "We always wanted to feed our neighborhood," he says. "I've seen it change from where it was twelve years ago, but there's not a lot of places to go."

The Novel RiNo building from Crescent Communities is also slated to be home to a Corvus Coffee location, a rooftop bar and one of our most anticipated restaurants of the year, Magna Kainan, a Filipino concept from Portland-based chef Carlo Lamagna. It's also "trying to keep RiNo RiNo," Blauvelt notes, with plenty of art and fun amenities.

He drove by the project daily before securing the deal to move in. "A lot of those new builds are stepping up on this moment to say, this is what we have to offer to help you, help us," he notes. "I think they see the value in what we have."

"Having Bodega and Cliff Blauvelt on site will be a great addition to the neighborhood and a fantastic perk for our residents," says Ben Krasnow, managing director of Colorado and Utah for Crescent Communities. "We’ve seen how Bodega is the go-to spot in Sunnyside, and we thought it’d be a perfect fit for RiNo."
click to enlarge an egg and cheese sandwich on a oppy seed bun
The Basic breakfast sandwich from Bodega.
Molly Martin
The expansion will allow Bodega "to be able to do the things we didn't get to do" at the original — where "we're bursting at the seams," Blauvelt notes. Those additions will include a late-afternoon happy hour, more grab-and-go items and catering services.

"The second one is built way more efficiently than the first," Blauvelt continues, pointing out that he and his team have had to make a lot of adjustments since Bodega's debut. "I had my own ideas, and the public had their own ideas of what they want. ... You've got to listen to your guests and be willing to crumple it up, throw it away and start over." That meant leaning into breakfast and finding new ways to appeal to new guests, like the $10 chicken sandwich special that is now available on Tuesdays.

As he prepares to open the second Bodega, Blauvelt is also thinking beyond that. "I want to continue to grow and see what we can turn this into," he says. "It just feels like we have something that we need to keep moving." If he comes across the right opportunity — and, more important, has the right people in place — he'd be open to more Bodega locations.

His focus right now, though, is "How do you grow, how do you get bigger, and how do you get more delicious" — all while continuing to feed the community what it wants? "This is for old Denver, this is for new Denver. It's for everybody," Blauvelt concludes. 
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