Cafe Society

Ten Ways the Denver Restaurant Scene Has Changed Over 100 Reviews

When you hit a hundred, it's time to celebrate. And while I'm far from getting my picture on a Smucker's Jar on the Today Show, I'm closing in on a milestone of another sort: my hundredth review here. It won't be published for a few more weeks, but in the meantime, I'll be chiming in with thoughts on what it's like to hit the century mark as Westword's restaurant critic.

If we were having a party, someone would pull out home movies and framed pictures of the early years, and we'd gawk at funny collars and hairstyles. Instead, I'm offering a snapshot of what Denver's food scene looked like when I started two years ago... See also: New Cafe critic Gretchen Kurtz dishes up a few words about her philosophy

When I wrote my first review in September 2012: 1) Pork belly was bigger than oysters. 2) People still ordered entrees. 3) Barn wood was for barns. 4) Offal was poised to be anything but awful. Keep reading for seven more changes on the dining scene. 5) Donuts were for cops, and cupcakes were king. 6) Glendale was a place you drove through on your way to Target or I-25, Ballpark was shorthand for where the Rockies play, and the only reason you went down Brighton Boulevard was if you were lost. Exaggeration? Yes -- but only a little bit. 7) Burgers were big. Oh, right, they still are. Keep reading for three more changes on the dining scene. 8) Fast casuals were for sandwiches and burritos, not trained chefs. 9) The more than 600 restaurants and bars that have debuted since then were only a twinkle in somebody's eye. 10) Ampersands were just another punctuation mark, no hipper than the semicolon.


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.
Gretchen Kurtz has worked as a writer for 25 years; during that time she's stomped grapes in Napa, eaten b'stilla in Fez, and baked with Buddy Valastro, aka the Cake Boss. Her work has appeared in publications including Boulevard (Paris), Diversion, the New York Times and Westword. Our restaurant critic since 2012, she loves helping you decide where to eat and drink tonight.
Contact: Gretchen Kurtz