For years, Sunnyside -- the neighborhood bounded by 38th Avenue, Federal Boulevard, Interstate 70 and Inca Street -- was a food desert, with only a couple of notable Denver favorites, like the original Chubby's, amid a handful of other taco joints and tortillerias. The growing popularity of the nearby Highland and Berkeley neighborhoods, along with ballooning real estate prices, has meant young buyers and families have been looking to Sunnyside for better deals. And with new residents comes a demand for more services, including markets, restaurants and bars. Lou's Food Bar and Ernie's Bar & Pizza got an early jump, setting up shop on the neighborhood's periphery, while Paxia Alta Cocina Mexicana delved into Sunnyside's heart. Now a new boom is poised to bring a variety of drinking and dining options to the quaint neighborhood.
Paul Tamburello's Generator real estate group is a big part of the push. Tamburello, owner of Little Man Ice Cream in nearby LoHi, purchased the retail strip at 2450 West 44th Avenue in conjunction with Jack Pottle, whose family originally owned the building and operated the the Alcott Shoe Shop there as far back as the 1920s. Renamed Cobbler's Corner, the mixed use development includes live-work space, retail slots and two restaurant pads, one of which has been leased by a new breakfast and brunch concept called Bacon, scheduled to open this summer. Generator also has projects underway on Tejon Street between 40th and 41st Avenues. While Paxia is currently the only eatery on the strip since Bocadillo closed last spring, there are several restaurant spaces available. One of those has just been claimed by Cherry Bean Coffee. Also on 44th Avenue, signs announcing the arrival of the Blue Plains Tavern have gone up on the building that was once a carniceria and taqueria. Owner Neil Jorgenson, whose management experience includes Marlowe's, the Dusty Boot Steakhouse and Stoney's Bar & Grill, plans a fish and game restaurant with several seafood dishes, lamb, bison elk and a rotating menu of less common game options. "Instead of a downtown place, I've always wanted a place for neighbors to walk or bike to," explains Jorgenson.
He adds that Sunnyside residents are already excited for different kinds of food to supplement Ernie's, Sunny's and the few other neighborhood favorites. He's targeting the end of summer for an opening date and is in the process of searching for a chef. "I think it's a great opportunity for a chef to come in and take my vision and make a name for themselves," he adds.
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At 44th and Tejon Street, Sunnyside Market opened last fall offering a small selection of organic groceries and deli selections as well as fresh-baked pastries, focaccia and a variety of takeout sandwiches, burritos and other grab-and-go items. It's a welcome addition for an area short on shopping options. And with the Sunnyside Farms market opereated by Feed Denver next to Common Grounds (which relocated to Sunnyside in mid-2013), there's now an extra option for home cooks looking for local options. The Sunnyside Farm Market is open every Saturday as long as the weather permits (they've only missed three weekends this winter) and is ramping up for spring with organic plant seedlings now available.