Word of Mouth

Restaurateurs name gardens, not food trucks, number-one trend of 2010

The patch of earth in the alley planted with herbs and produce may not be as flashy as the mobile vendor cruising down the street hawking banh mi and pork belly, but according to 2,000 restaurateurs across the country, that plot of land is trendier. One third of those restaurateurs named restaurant gardens as the hottest trend of 2010 in the latest National Restaurant Association poll.

The rise of locavorism has been a multi-year process -- and this year, several Denver restaurants made the national news for their use of local produce.

Here in Colorado, we've also seen a rise in restaurant gardens all over the Front Range. The Squeaky Bean, 3301 Tejon Street, has its own garden plot behind the restaurant and also procures produce from Aspen Moon Farms in Hygiene; Pizzeria Basta, 3601 Arapahoe Avenue, allocated part of its patio to growing; Boulder's Black Cat, 1964 13th Street, gets many of its ingredients from its owner's farm; Root Down, 1600 West 33rd Avenue, has long toyed with adding an urban garden to its rooftop; and Fruition, Alex Seidel's restaurant at 1313 East Sixth Avenue, acquires the majority of its produce from Fruition Farms, Seidel's ten-acre parcel of land in Larkspur.

According to the National Restaurant Association, that trend is echoed nationally, with new restaurants all over the country analyzing how they can reallocate space to growing food. And now that it's been named, we expect we'll be seeing the movement pick up even more steam.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk