I occasionally write for Birdy magazine this column called “I Love You Denver”. I’m not the greatest writer, but I’m working on getting better. Since Birdy exists mostly in print, I”d like to share with you my column for the April issue. Hope you enjoy!
There comes that time in a young person’s life when their favorite shop, restaurant, or business closes. For me, it was the Tae Kwon Do studio I was learning karate at, and. I was devastated. Since that experience, I’ve seen record stores, restaurants, arcades, and businesses of every size shutter their doors. I guess I’ve become desensitized to the experience although certain closures still hurt. When Tom’s Home Cookin’ in Five Points shut down closed December 2015, I was truly bummed. Shit, I’m still bummed. I miss that fried catfish, cheesy potatoes, jalapeno cornbread, and sweat tea!
Recently my son experienced his first store closure — Board Life, a skateboard shop on South South Broadway — and it’s lead to quite a few conversations. The shop, Board Life, is a skateboard shop on South South Broadway. The staff was great, they have everything a young skateboarder would want. They even had a Tech Deck skatepark which my son loved. By the time Birdy goes to print, the store will be closed. Since my son found out the news on Instagram, we’ve talked about the importance of supporting the businesses you love. While it’s convenient to shop online through mega-retailers like Amazon, we should consider spending a little more (and more often than not spending the same) at your local retail stores so that these businesses continue to prosper, and in turn, so do our communities. 303 Boards on Colfax will definitely be getting our support moving forward.
I’ve recently committed to buying at least one new record every week at my favorite local mom-and-pop record stores, which means Twist & Shout and Wax Trax in Denver. When I travel, I’m making a point to support record stores in those cities. I hate the thought of Twist & Shout or Wax Trax ever closing up shop especially if I hadn’t bought a record in years. I’ve also decided I’m done with Starbucks and will instead only support independent coffee shops.
With all the new restaurants and bars opening up every week, I want to stress the importance of supporting those old school spots that paved the way for everyone else. Did you know that in the late 90s, P.F. Changs was “Top of the Town” in 5280 Magazine? Because of folks like Josh Wolkon who opened Vesta (dipping grill) and Steuben’s 20 years ago, Denver has a rich landscape of independent restaurants and bars. Josh recently spoke at a food event at the Colorado Governor’s Mansion saying that for every new restaurant you dine at, you should consider supporting an old school spot. I might suggest that even if you hit one classic restaurant for every two or three dining experiences, you are directly helping to support Denver’s local dining scene. So for every trip to Uchi, Death & Co, or Hop Alley, throw in a visit to Steuben’s, Jax Fish House, or Columbine Steak House. Here are some recommends for April:
Vesta (1822 Blake Street) — It had been 15 or 16 years since I ate at Vesta when I was invited to go back as I was figuring out if I should put them in the 2-for-1 craft beverage Summer Denver Passport. Not only was the food and cocktails top-notch, the service was fantastic. The Char Siu Pork Belly and Madras Grilled Venison were highlights, but everything was delicious!
Uchi Denver (2500 Lawrence Street) —- Texas has been loving Uchi’s non-traditional take on Japanese cuisine since 2003. Their Denver location is the first outside of the Lone Star State. Go there for happy hour (5- 6:30 p.m.) and enjoy lower priced food and drink before going for the regular menu. These guys are doing things right!
If you have a suggestion, email me or leave a comment. Thanks for reading. I Love You Denver!