I've lived in Washington Park for about sixteen years -- long before it became trendy, and long after the corner markets on South Gaylord had disappeared into the abyss, making way for (mostly) lackluster bars and restaurants, uppity boutiques and wine bottle shops (that part, I like).
But corner markets -- places where you can pick up essentials like, you know, toilet paper, tin foil and a Snickers bar -- have all but disappeared, and there hasn't been one in Wash Park for years.
But thanks to Tim Lymberopoulos and Richard Glover, the 'hood is about to get Fooducopia's Corner Store and Cafe, a corner market -- albeit a fancy one -- where eco-friendly moon squares share space with Justin's Nut Butter, Cook -n- Shoupe BBQ sauce and MoJo Granola, all of which, by the way, are Colorado products.
And that's the whole point, says Lymberopoulos (who jokes that it took him three years to learn how to spell his Greek name.) "There's nothing new about what we're doing here -- it's an old-school-style market -- except for the fact that the products we're carrying in the market are primarily local and/or organic."
Instead of Grey Poupon mustards, he says, "we'll carry Finnish-style mustards from Anija's, a local purveyor in Fort Collins, and our pasteurized eggs are fresh from a farm in Eastern Colorado."
"We want to bring convenience to the people in Washington Park, but we also want to buy local as much as we possibly can," he adds. "It's true what they say: You really can taste the difference in local products."
The market, located at 1939 East Kentucky, opens Labor Day weekend and will also feature a small cafe component that offers breakfast and lunch seven days a week. The menu is the creation of Glover, a culinary-school graduate and local chef by way of South Africa, who's cooked in several Denver restaurants, including the former Chi Bistro (now Wash Park Tavern) on South Gaylord Street. As an aside, he also cooked a steak dinner for then-presidential candidate Barack Obama when he was in Denver for the Democratic National Convention.
But you won't find steaks at the cafe, which will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Instead, says Lymberopoulos, breakfast and weekend brunch will consist of things like pancakes, banana Fosters French toast and Benedicts, while lunch will focus on salads and sandwiches -- and the menu, he notes, will change...with the seasons. "The benefit of being connected to a market that specializes in local products is that the menu will follow suit," he notes, "and it'll definitely change to coincide with Colorado's growing seasons." Plus -- "a changing menu," he adds, "gives Richard a creative outlet to play around with lots of fun, different ingredients, and it gives our guests more variety."
Welcome to the 'hood.