LoHi decks the halls...and doubles the number of restaurants in the area

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The businesses of Lower Highland have been decking the halls -- or at least their doors -- for the holiday season, and the Laughing Latte, the coffee shop at 2001 West 32nd Avenue, just took top prize in the LoHi Merchant Wreath Contest with a wreath made of coffee filters.

But other area eateries got into the holiday spirit, too: Pasquini's, at 2400 West 32nd Avenue, took first runner-up with its wreath made of breadsticks (it's displayed on an interior wall, since its components don't hold up well in inclement weather), and Vita, at 1575 Boulder Street, rated an honorable mention for its more traditional wreath festooned with an ornamental tree...and a beer. The decorations will stay up through the holidays in the area we named the "Best Restaurant Neighborhood" in the Best of Denver 2011.

And there's reason for LoHi to be jolly this season: The number of restaurants/bars in the area -- which, for the sake of this count, is defined as the area from Speer to 38th Avenue, Federal Boulevard to I-25 -- has more than doubled in the past four years, according to Lu Stasko of the Stasko Agency, who's kept track (and also organized the wreath contest).

Only a few spots are gone -- Zuni Kitchen, Squeaky Bean, An's Lemongrass Grille, Red Trolley and Aztec Sol -- but the locations of the last three have been filled by, respectively, Park Burger, Spuntino and Highland Tap and Burger, which hosted last week's LoHi Merchant Holiday Party. And Jezebel's will soon move into the Squeaky Bean spot.

Here's the rest of Stasko's list of restaurants in LoHi:

A Cote Bar a Absinthe Ale House at Amato's Arabian Bar Cebiche Cellar Wine Bar Duo Restaurant Forest Room 5 Gaetano's Restaurant Gallop Coffee Highland Tavern Jay's Patio La Mexicana Taqueria Lechuga's Linger Living the Sweet Life Little Man Ice Cream LoHi Coffee House LoHi Steak Bar Lola Loncheria La Mexicana Los Carboncit0s Lumber Baron (which we'd argue is a B&B, but still...) Mary Jane's Pizza Masterpiece Delicatessen Pagliacci's *Panaderia Rosales Bakery Pasquini's Highland Patsy's Inn Pig & Block Charcuterie Rockstar Bar Root Down Rosa Linda's Mexican Cafe Shangri-La Stir Cooking School Subway Tavern & Pizzeria Longo's Tamales by La Casita Taqueria Patzcuaro Williams & Graham Wooden Spoon Cafe and Bakery Z Cuisine French Bistro Zio Romolo's Alley Bar

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