There's no better time to be hungry in Denver, given all the developments on the restaurant scene. Earlier this week, I brought you a look at trends that have shaken out the past twelve months. Here are three more -- and unlike with some of our lists, number one really is number one. So keep reading.
3. Meals & More Grocery stores figured out years ago that they could up their sales by stocking not just ingredients (who has time to cook, anyway?), but prepared foods. This was the year that restaurateurs did the reverse, offering shelves and refrigerated cases of market items along with scratch-cooked meals. Look for fresh seafood at Big Mac & Little Lu's, yerba mate at Rincon Argentino and Corvus coffee and strawberry balsamic jelly at Olive & Finch.
2. Get Your Sweet On Farm-fresh produce had its day in the sun. So did meat, with the likes of Justin Brunson (Old Major) and Paul Reilly (Beast + Bottle) cashing in on nose-to-tail dining. Now Denver is seeing a renewed interest in sweets, not just at breakfast -- with the opening (or impending opening) of donutteries such as Voodoo Doughnut, Dunkin' Donuts and Glazed and Confuzed -- but with Sugarmill, Troy Guard and Noah French's ode to outstanding desserts.
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1. Location, location, location Highland is still hot, but more and more restaurateurs are thinking outside the box, er neighborhood, setting up shop in the places you'd least expect them so, such as Denver International Airport (Root Down, Elway's) and The Source, a nineteenth-century foundry-turned-food-emporium not far from the National Western complex. Look for the trend to continue with the renovation of Union Station, a destination unto itself with a location of the rapidly expanding Snooze, another edition of The Kitchen Next Door, a new concept from Alex Seidel, and a seafood restaurant from James Beard award-winner Jennifer Jasinski and partner Beth Gruitch.