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Linger is the newest player in lower Highland, Denver's best restaurant neighborhood

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We named lower Highland (which some developers insist on calling LoHi -- a name we fear is catching on) the Best Restaurant Neighborhood in the Best of Denver 2011 because of the wide range of excellent edible experiences it offers within just a few blocks.

You can find tamales, canolis, fresh-baked scones, oysters and foie gras. You can wander between cocktail dens, beer halls and wine bars (but beware those century-old sidewalks). And you can eat not just at 25-, 40- and 50-year-old mainstays, but also at some of the newest -- and hottest -- joints in town.

Over the past few years, several of the city's best restaurateurs have opened places in this neighborhood, and there's no sign that the area is cooling off.

One of those restaurateurs is Justin Cucci, who opened Root Down in an old gas station in December 2007 and has packed the place just about every night since. When the chef/owner decided to open a second restaurant, he didn't look far before taking on another challenge: reworking a morbid north Denver landmark, the Olinger Mortuary building, into a place where people would actually come and eat.

Rather than ignore the building's history, Cucci has embraced it at Linger, an eatuary (according to the reworked Olinger sign) that serves global street food.

From the day it opened earlier this summer, Linger has been the hottest spot in a very hot neighborhood, with crowds dying to get in every night of the week. I joined them for this week's review, eating my way through Cucci's menu in this very unorthodox place.

How was it? Find out tomorrow when the review is posted here.

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