The revived Bocadillo is still no copycat

Bocadillo has never felt like a copycat. When the restaurant opened in early 2012 on a quiet street in Sunnyside, owner Derek Dietz opted not to put out trendy, refined fare. "We're not competing with Rioja and Squeaky Bean," he explains. "We're like a diner that has really good food." So instead, he focused on sandwiches that reflected his background, everything from filet with brie -- a nod to his background cooking at the Four Seasons -- to Philly cheesesteaks, the staple of his youth spent in Philadelphia.

And just when business was looking good, Dietz was forced to close for a year due to a family emergency. When he reopened last summer, he decided to tweak the concept to address the main complaint that he'd heard during his initial run, namely that he should "show off the food more and have booze," he recalls. See also: Chef and Tell with Derek Dietz of Bocadillo

So he got a liquor license, added a bar and expanded both Bocadillo's hours and its menu.

But rather than showing off with intricate entrees, as you might have expected from this classically-trained cook, Dietz again chose his own road, switching from sandwiches to snacks -- albeit snacks with a scratch-made, locally-sourced, fine-dining touch.

And why didn't he go high end? "I don't like going to fancy places," he says, adding that "all the places I've worked in the past, I've never cooked for people I could relate too."

Find out if Bocadillo is a place that you can relate to when my review is posted on westword.com tomorrow.


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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