Paris on the Platte celebrates its 25th anniversary -- win a gift basket!

The stretch of Platte Street that heads up from 15th Street is one of the hottest restaurant areas in town, with Sushi Sasa swimming in business since it opened six years ago, Colt & Gray packing in the crowds since it joined the scene in August 2009 and Denver Beer Co. jammed after just a month in business.

Westword was once headquartered here, above the now-defunct Maxfield & Friends restaurant that was way ahead of its time; back then, our neighborhood bar of choice -- and just about our only choice, period -- was My Brother's Bar. But then one day, we found a new coffeehouse was opening just up the street: Paris on the Platte.

"If you found your way to Platte Street, you were hip and intrepid," remembers Faye Maguire, who's been there from the start. Over the years, she's grown her place to include live music and a wine bar -- but along the way, Paris also ditched the books that were part of the original plan and a smoking-friendly policy that had taken advantage of the cigar-bar loophole.

"I really credit our ability to adapt and change to the market for our longevity," Maguire continues. "From our edgy origins, we've evolved into a gathering place for a variety of people."

And that gathering place will be celebrating its 25th anniversary this coming weekend, with two days of music and memories starting at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, September 23, with assorted dignitaries offering their salute at 5 p.m. Saturday, September 24.

In advance of the celebration, we're collecting memories of Paris on the Platte, where so many of today's respectable businesspeople spent their teenage years hanging out and smoking cigarettes. Do you have a story? Post it below by 4 p.m. tomorrow, September 23, when we'll reward the author of the best reminiscence with a special Paris on the Platte gift basket.

And to get things started, a Westword memory. Back in the '80s, the area was so rough that our building's manager had a guard on duty -- a gruff guy scarier than anyone we ever saw on the street. One night, when I was running down to Paris on the Platte for a cup of coffee, he stopped me and said that I shouldn't go there without an escort. "I've put better-looking women than you in body bags," he said. I didn't ask what he meant; I couldn't imagine that any answer he'd give would be soothing.

But that cup of coffee at Paris certainly was....

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