Reader: There Are Exactly As Many Restaurants as the Market Will Support

Larimer Square is one of the city's dining destinations.
Larimer Square is one of the city's dining destinations.
Ken Hamblin III
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"Does Denver have too many restaurants?" That's the question Jamey Fader addressed in his most recent "Stirring the Pot" column.  His answer?

"The rumbling sentiment, born from frustrations in a challenging industry, seems to be yes. But is the discontent merely a symptom of what I've come to call Restaurant Saturation Derangement Syndrome?" he wrote. "I believe that more options create competition that raises the collective bar. As Denver grows, so does its food scene, spanning the spectrum of offerings from greasy-spoon joints to white-linen establishments. However, doomsday titles like "There Is No Room for Any More Restaurants" in Restaurant Business Online and "Thanks to Wall Street, There May Be Too Many Restaurants" in the New York Times show that keen industry experts disagree."

But many of our readers disagree with those "experts." Says Timothy: 

Of course not. There are exactly as many restaurants as the market can support.

Notes Robbie: 

Fifteen years ago there wasn’t shit.

Adds Bobby:

 I think the competition has raised the bar significantly in the last six or so years. We went from an extremely culinary challenged city to a respectable one, and I suspect that bar will keep getting raised maybe even to the point of elite. I’m all for regulation where it’s needed, but as long as young entrepreneurs keep opening inventive cool restaurants, the throngs will come.

Responds Nick:

 And I still can never decide where to eat.

Asks Thomas:

 Have you ever tried to get a table on Friday or Saturday night??

Replies Carissa: 

Have you ever tried dining out on a Tuesday? Restaurants need more than Friday/Saturday to survive.

Concludes Aaron:

If the population/neighborhood can’t sustain it, it will close. Easy as that.

Fader recently heard from one veteran chef who wants local government to intercede by limiting business and liquor licenses. “Denver simply has too many choices (there is such a thing)," the chef wrote. "'Concepts' and 'themes' are not the answer.... The solution is to let about a third of them close and keep them closed. No regulation is making this industry in Denver volatile and dangerous for owners and very aggravating for diners. This over-saturation of restaurants is actually hurting other establishments. There needs to be a law passed in Denver that would only allow for so many businesses like this, for the sake of everyone."

Fader disagreed with that — "I feel their pain, but I can’t shake the perspective that if you do it well and do it better than everyone else, you’ll see sustained success for as long as you operate at the highest level," he wrote — and so did most of our readers.

What do you think about metro Denver's dining scene? Are there too many restaurants? Should the government get involved? Post a comment or email your thoughts to editorial@westword.com; we'll share more in the Letters to the Editor column in our February 13 issue.

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