Shops -- and restaurants -- at Northfield finally get a break

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On a Labor Day detour from DIA, we spent a few hours wandering around the Shops at Northfield -- with time out for the Mexican Cobb salad at La Sandia, Richard Sandoval's restaurant there, one of several eateries in the development that could use more traffic.

It was a much more successful mission than our first attempt to reach this area, when we exited I-70 on what we thought was the right access road -- and wound up stuck in a hideous traffic jam on I-270 (where, Northfield's website notes, there is "no exit"). A sensible way to reach Northfield was an early casualty of budget-crunching. Since the Shops opened, the major access has been a circuitous, and confusing, route along Quebec Street.

But that starts changing today: At ten this morning, assorted city and state dignitaries celebrated the groundbreaking for the Central Park Boulevard Interchange between Quebec and Havana streets, which will provide access both to the shopping development to the north and the Stapleton neighborhood to the south. The construction is funded by the Better Denver Bond Program and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act -- and this is one stimulus project that could really stimulate some business in an area that could use it.

The interchange won't be finished in time to help the slew of new joints coming to Northfield -- Toby Keith's I Love This Bar, Guy Harvey's Perfect Spot and Ocean Blue are all slated to open in the next few weeks -- but it's a start.

By the way, both La Sandia restaurants (the second is in Park Meadows) are offering three-course, $20.10 meals this week in honor of the 200th anniversary of the Mexican independence movement. It's a deal worth toasting -- and conveniently, La Sandia features a vast array of tequilas.

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