Donuts, burlesque, green chile cocktails
BY PEYTON GARCIA | @CITYCASTDENVER
DENVER FOOD NEWS
Alright, tomorrow kicks off the most important week for local food-lovers (OK, maybe it’s just my favorite week of the year, but) — it’s Denver Restaurant Week! I love DRW because it’s not only an excuse to go out and indulge in the latest and greatest our dining scene has to offer, but more importantly, it means deep discounts and menu specials that get us out of the house and pounding the pavement to support local chefs, bartenders, and servers. And after the last two years, they need that support more than ever.
City Cast Denver is going all out for DRW with a four-episode lineup that kicks off tomorrow, spotlighting local food stories, including a catch-up with chef Frank Bonnano, a look at food truck culture, a conversation about mental health in the restaurant world, James Beard Awards gossip, Denver’s culinary history, and more! Don’t miss it. Get each episode as it drops here.
In other news, two openings caught my eye this week: First, Five Nines. This sleek Cherry Creek cocktail lounge, nestled subtly behind a service door in the Clayton Members Club and Hotel, is a shrine to cocktails past, present, and future. The menu includes classics to satisfy even the strictest cocktail purist, as well as edgy, over-the-top concoctions for more adventurous drinkers. Plus, they offer non-alcoholic beverage options that have as much star power as their boozy counterparts.
BUT Five Nine’s drinks aren’t what grabbed my attention (at least, not at first) — It was the nightly burlesque performances from local dance troupe, Hard Candy Dancers. The whole dimly lit experience is “reminiscent of an underground jazz club,” writes 303 Magazine food and booze writer Daniel Weimer.
“It’s hidden, but not a secret. This ain’t no speakeasy,” the Five Nines website reads. Always a fan of Clocktower Cabaret and glitzy prohibition-era-inspired bars like The Cruise Room and Retrograde, I’m intrigued by this latest addition to the beverage scene.
The second opening (or soon-to-open, that is): Fuel & Iron. This new restaurant (at the Ballpark space that was formerly home to Brass Tacks, RIP) is, wait for it…Pueblo-themed. As in the Colorado town of Pueblo. The duo behind the concept is also opening a Fuel & Iron Food Hall in Pueblo, among some other real estate endeavors, including an affordable housing project.
Why a city-themed bar in another Colorado city, you ask? “I had the same negative connotations of Pueblo that everyone else does growing up in Colorado,” co-founder Nathan Stern told BusinessDen. “People think it’s a dying industrial city with tons of crime, which is a common misconception we need to correct.”
The idea of the new Denver restaurant is to educate guests on the history of one of Colorado’s most misunderstood cities (at least in Stern’s opinion). The star of the menu will be the “slopper,” an open-faced cheeseburger composed of Puebloan ingredients and smothered in Pueblo’s famous green chile. There will also be green chile cocktails. Personally, I’d like to go with a homegrown Puebloan for the most authentic experience.
I’m also keeping an eye on The Denver Post’s March Madness local taco bracket. Right now, we’re looking at round one, the “sweet 16” match-up. They’ve got obvious taco go-tos on there, like El Taco de Mexico and Los Dos Potrillos. But there are also some surprises, like Tocabe, which does an “Indian taco” with fry bread. I’m excited to see who you all narrow it down to.
Oh, and one more thing — We’re digging around for Denver’s best donuts! 🍩 🍩 What’s your go-to spot for fluffy, glazed, besprinkled breakfast treats? Call or text our donut freaks hotline at 720-500-5418 to give us the scoop, or email us at Denver@CityCast.fm.
FROM OUR SPONSORS: THE STAENBERG-LOUP JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER
Purim Drag Queen Bingo? Yes, please!
Join the JCC Denver for the 2nd Annual Purim Drag Queen Bingo on Saturday, March 19, at 7:30 p.m. Host Laura Menorah, along with Lala Queen and Shiksa Mess, will oversee bingo, give away prizes, and bring plenty of pizzaz! Come in costume for a chance to win the costume contest. This event is 21 and over only. Tickets are available at https://www.jccdenver.org/communities/lgbtqia/
TODAY ON THE POD ⚖️
“Nobody volunteered to be subjected to these less-lethal weapons in the way that they were by the Denver Police. So we hope that it will cause the Denver Police and other police departments around the country to look closely at what their policies are, what their training is, what their supervision policies are, and to do better.” — Sara Neel, CO ACLU senior staff attorney
Did Denver Police Use Excessive Force Against George Floyd Protesters?
The City of Denver has already paid out more than $3 million in settlements to people injured by the police while protesting the murder of George Floyd in the summer of 2020. But now, a group of 12 protesters has taken their case to court, marking the first federal trial in the country to challenge police violence against those racial justice protests. The ACLU’s Colorado branch is representing most of the plaintiffs, and today, senior staff attorney Sara Neel joins host Bree Davies to take us inside the case and talk about the implications for future criminal justice reform.
A NOTE FROM BREE 💚
Denver jazz legend Ron Miles died on Tuesday. The Denver Post reports: “His death was confirmed by his label, New York-based Blue Note Records. According to a publicist there, Miles’ manager and producer Hans Wendl said that Miles died shortly before midnight on Tuesday, March 8, at his home in Denver in the presence of family. The cause was complications from Polycythemia Vera, a rare blood disorder, Miles’ manager said.”
An accomplished trumpet and cornet player, Miles was also known for his prolific work as a composer, releasing and recording on dozens of records in his career, starting with his own debut release, “Distance for Safety,” in 1987. Miles impacted and inspired countless musicians and students of music history in his role as both a profound player and as a professor and program director of Jazz Studies at Metropolitan State University. A graduate of East High School who studied music at the University of Denver and the Manhattan School of Music, he was also inducted in the Colorado Music Hall of Fame in 2017.
Miles said of one of his chosen instruments: “[The cornet] allows me to be inside the music more — and that’s where I feel most comfortable.” That quote embodied what Ron’s presence felt like to me as a young student of music history when I took his class, Jazz Styles, in the early 2000s at Metro. He was soft-spoken, speaking much louder through his interpretations of genre and his supreme musicianship. I’ll never forget when he walked into class one day wearing a suit… and two different colored Converse All-Stars. He was the kind of musician who could both carry a subtly wild style of dress, but also be completely oblivious to the world around him, a world that cared about things as frivolous as matching shoes.
Stay tuned for more tributes to this incredible musician Denver was so lucky to call our own.
OTHER ODDS AND ENDS
✈️ Crash landing: A six-person Cessna airplane crashed down in the middle of E-470 in Douglas County yesterday afternoon. Two passengers were aboard the plane and sustained minor injuries. The cause of the accident is under investigation. [CCM]
🚲 Turin Bicycles bids goodbye: Turin Bicycles is Denver’s oldest bike shop at 51 years old, but unaffordable rent and supply chain disruptions are now forcing it to close down — for now, at least. Shop founder/owner Alan Fine has passed the business to two longtime employees who will try to reopen sometime next year.
- 👉 The shop is currently running a “going-out-of-business” sale that will continue until everything is gone.
⛽ Gas tax suspension: Jared Polis joined five other Democratic governors in penning a letter to congressional leaders urging them to enact a gas tax exemption that would last the remainder of 2022. The call to action is the direct result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine which has sent US gas prices sky high. [CO Newsline]
🌹 The Final Rose: Former Denver Broncos cheerleader Gabby Windey is one of the last two ladies standing on this season’s “The Bachelor.” The season finale is scheduled to air March 14. [Axios Denver]
💼 Denver goes back to the office (kinda): Mayor Michael Hancock is bringing city employees back to the office starting next month. But he’s not making them quit WFH life cold turkey. Employees will only be required to work in-person two days a week for now, and it will increase gradually from there. [CO Politics]
MOMENT OF JOY: MEET THE LIGHTSABER GUYS OF GREELEY 🌌
“It’s reclaiming what college is supposed to be. It’s silly, but it’s also normal. College is supposed to be fun.” — Founding “Lightsaber Guy” Rachel Gartrell
When the COVID-19 pandemic brought campus morale to all-time low at the University of Northern Colorado, one group of students took inspiration from “Star Wars” to bring some light back to the community. What started as a couple of friends stretching away their pandemic aches and blowing off steam quickly became a campus phenomenon. [CO Sun]