Since 2003, eligible young men have offered themselves up as reality-TV fodder on The Bachelorette, the show that turns the possibility of lifelong commitment into something akin to a game show — with humans as the prize. Across fourteen seasons (the show took 2006 and 2007 off), more than 350 suitors have vied for the hand of their potential brides. Most of the names of these cocky courtiers have been lost in the tar pits of pop-culture history. In Denver, though, three of them have found a second chance at fame — in the hospitality industry. Here are the three Bachelorette contestants who lost at love but hope to win the hearts of Denver diners.
Denver Pizza Company
309 West 11th Avenue
Mark Huebner was a contestant in season five of The Bachelorette back in 2009, but even then he had pizza on his mind. After his early exit in week five of the show, the Illinois native launched his restaurant career with the opening of the Denver Pizza Company later that year. Still going strong nine years later, the little takeout-only pie joint remains one of Denver's best New York-style pizzas by the slice. We've never spotted Huebner tossing dough at the Golden Triangle shop during our regular slice stops, but one day we hope to encounter a famous Denver Broncos linebacker there, since a chalkboard out front bears this message: "Von Miller eats here for free."
2219 West 32nd Avenue
Opening early 2019
Ben Higgins made it to week eight of season eleven of The Bachelorette back in 2015, but returned to TV in the 2016 season of The Bachelor. While his match-up with Lauren Bushnell on that show didn't pan out, it did bring Higgins back to Denver. On his blog, The Mahogany Workplace, the former reality-show contestant confesses that he's long dreamed of opening a restaurant because of early memories of an eatery called Stacy's near his home town of Warsaw, Indiana. Higgins also happens to be friends with restaurateur Juan Padro, who has already opened three Tap & Burger locations, Bar Dough, Señor Bear and Morin, and the two are now partnered in Ash'Kara, which will serve Israeli cuisine from chef Daniel Asher. Higgins appears to have chosen well in his inaugural restaurant endeavor, even if Ash'Kara is taking the place of the extremely short-lived Bremen's Wine & Tap (where Rosa Linda's previously served Mexican food for more than thirty years). This isn't his first foray into the food biz, though: Higgins also co-founded Generous Coffee Co.
2229 Blake Street
Chase McNary hails from Highlands Ranch, and in 2016 he hoped to make a connection with bachelorette JoJo Fletcher in season fourteen of the ABC show. When that didn't work out, the jilted suitor turned his attention to his home state, where he launched a hospitality company. That company's first creation: Revel Social, a bar and restaurant that just opened last week in the space that was previously Latigo (and Zi South before that). The place is more nightclub than eatery, but there's enough on the dinner menu to keep noshy revelers happy, and brunch is also a go. Will McNary do better in a tricky location that cools off considerably when baseball season ends than he did on The Bachelorette?
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Time will tell if Denver decides to give Revel Social a red rose.