Degree Metropolitan Food + Drink recently opened in the SpringHill Suites hotel on the Auraria campus downtown, offering a globally inspired menu, a full bar with a deep wine cellar — and an educational experience for students in Metro State University Denver's hospitality, tourism and events program.
The restaurant is managed by Sage Hospitality, which also operates the Corner Office, Second Home, Kachina Southwestern Grill and the soon-to-open Departure. In addition to serving lunch an dinner seven days a week, Degree gives MSU students a chance to experience what it's like to work in a live restaurant setting, both in the kitchen and the front of the house. Those enrolled in the hospitality program shadow paid employees and learn what it takes to run a restaurant. Some students from the program have since graduated and are now full-time employees with Sage.
General manager Scott Perry explains that in addition to real-life experience, students also benefit every time a customer spends money at Degree; a portion of all food and beverage sales go to the MSU Denver Foundation, which helps fund student scholarships.
Perry recommends Degree, with cuisine from chef Daniel Hyman, as a great place to stop if you're looking for something more than just bar food before or after games at the nearby Pepsi Center and Sports Authority Field. The bar offers 16 wines by the glass, 20 Colorado craft brews and an extensive wine cellar that was built as part of the hospitality program's cellar management classes.
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The restaurant is a little tricky to spot, but the best way to get there is to enter SpringHill's parking circle from eastbound Auraria Parkway, just before Speer Boulevard. Degree's kitchen is open every day from 10:30 a.m.to 10 p.m., and the bar serves until midnight every night but Sunday.