Reader: The Mall Is More Than a Tourist Trap, With Local Shops and Restaurants

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How do you feel about the 16th Street Mall? That mile-long strip through downtown is bound to be jumping today, with gorgeous weather and a Rockies game tonight. But while some locals love it, others avoid it — and downtown boosters are in the process of revisioning the mall. "It's sad that the busiest place in the city is the least like the actual city of Denver," said one reader, and Maggie agrees: 

It has little to offer in terms of character or charm. It's a serviceable place for downtown office workers to eat lunch and do errands. Sometimes when the weather is nice it can be pleasant, as long as you don't wander into an area that smells like pee or weed, or get stopped by a clipboard person every block. But there are so many vacant storefronts, chain stores/restaurants, and junky tourist shops, I never see what the attraction is for tourists. The Larimer square area is much nicer and more interesting.

But others disagree, vehemently. Says Nathan:

I realize this is just more of Westword's lazy "we're old and cranky locals who hate everything" editorializing, but really? Some random person claims there is nothing local and your half-hearted defense is mentioning a few places and only WikiPita by name? Do chains like Chipotle, Illegal Pete's, Mod Market and Garbanzo not count? Or local restaurants and bars like The Kitchen, Cholon, Pho 77 or the Paramount? There are local shops, too, beyond the tourist crap-traps.

This comment sounds like nothing more than "I'm angry about everything downtown nowadays and the 16th St. Mall is an easy target." I realize journalism doesn't pay and all of your writers have been forced to move way out of town to survive, but you could have at least done a little fact checking or consulted with someone who actually does work and live down here before immediately resorting to the old "the mall is dead and must go" BS.

   Adds Nathan:

Here is a list of local restaurants (and chains with their HQ in Colorado) on the mall. This list is by no means complete and does not include any carts in the middle of the mall:

Local Restaurants on 16th St. Mall
-Katie Mullens
-Paramount Cafe
-Rialto Cafe
-Appaloosa Grill
-Honor Society
-Pho on 16th
-Sol Kitchen
-Diego's Mexican Food & Tequila Bar
-Amore Gelato
-Tuscany Coffee and Deli
-Menya Noodle Bar
-Saffron Grill
-The Kitchen
-Moe's Broadway Bagel
-Back East Bar and Grill
-Duffeyroll Cafe
-Lucky Pie Pizza
-5280 Burger Bar
-Lime Cantina

Local Chains on Mall
-Illegal Pete's
-Ink! Coffee
-Einstein's Bagels
-Rock Bottom Brewery
-The Tavern
-Tokyo Joe's
-Red Robin Burger Works
-Mad Greens
-Noodles and Company

Why not get out and explore the mall today? But first, read "Ten Reasons to Love the 16th Street Mall," by Westword editor Patricia Calhoun, and then let us know what you'd like to see happen there.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


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