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Cobbler’s Corner

With all the new construction in Denver, it can sometimes be difficult to remember that some developments are older buildings being given new purposes. Such is the case with Cobbler’s Corner in the Sunnyside neighborhood. For more than three decades, the building was home to Thomas and Catherine Pottle’s shoe shop; it later became a creamery and a bakery. Eventually, the building transitioned to the Germinal Stage Theater, a place for an amateur theater company.

When it was purchased and redeveloped by Generator Development, the corner lot was given a much-needed breath of fresh air. Cobbler’s Corner was opened up to become a community space, with shops, working spaces, and restaurants that infused the neighborhood with new life. Instead of razing the corner and the 100-year-old structure, Generator Development went along with a new trend in Denver: repurposing an older space for new, independent shops. Much like the revival of old structures in RiNo, Cobbler’s Corner is a space for locals to buy local and support small business.

One such business is Intrigue Boutique, a shop featuring everything from clothing to jewelry to home décor. Specifically designed for a personalized shopping experience, the shop hosts private shopping parties.

But Cobbler’s Corner isn’t just for retail. Cheese + Provisions is a cheese shop that provides everything from cheese classes to catering, and is now one of Denver’s premier cheese shops. Unlike anything in nearby Sunnyside, C+P is the kind of local shop that the neighborhood had been missing.

Probably one of the most unique features of Cobbler’s Corner is the courtyard located behind the retail spaces. Home to Bacon House Social, a spunky brunch place with quality Bloody Mary’s and gluten-free pancakes, the courtyard adds contemporary construction to the older building.

Because Sunnyside is a neighborhood in transition, Cobbler’s Corner is indicative of the type of redevelopment that the area is likely to see: walkable, local retail and restaurants, all housed in redeveloped older buildings. As Denver continues to grow, these types of developments give neighborhoods a community feel and foster the new identities of changing neighborhoods.

Green Seed Market: So Much More Than Salad

Two days after Central Market’s official opening, Stephen Julia and Katsumi Ruiz are still figuring out where to shelve incoming produce deliveries at Green Seed Market. Boxes of broccoli and lettuce are stacked up in the shop’s corner, waiting for a home. Two lonely bottles of fresh juice sit in the refrigerated display; the rest have sold out faster than expected. At the salad bar, customers order veggie bowls even at the odd 3-5 hours between lunch and dinner. The shop has all the feel of a New York bodega—small, bustling, and just chaotic enough to feel authentic.

But the journey that led to Green Seed Market’s opening wasn’t an easy one. With Central Market’s opening delayed multiple times for various reasons, even locals wondered if the gourmet community marketplace would ever open at all. But in late September, when Central Market opened its doors, the 13 vendors inside were met with enthusiasm that surprised them all. Green Seed was no different, and the small produce shop was overwhelmed with orders.

Green Seed is a unique enterprise in Central Market as it wasn’t even in the original plan. Stephen and Katsumi planned to open Curio, the bar inside of Central Market, but had no produce supplier on site. Since the market functions on a unique model—where vendors supply one another with goods at a discounted rate—developers needed a produce shop.

Stephen and Katsumi, along with their partner Rianna Thomas, decided to open Green Seed in addition to Curio. The produce shop functions as a traditional produce shop, with local and seasonal foods, as well as a salad bar. The shop also supplies most other vendors with fresh fruits and veggies, including mint for Temper Chocolates and fruit for drinks at Curio.

“We have the freshest lemons in Denver,” jokes Stephen, acknowledging that the turnover on lemons is so high due to the bar sales that no one else in Denver can keep up. And he’s not exaggerating—Curio has been regularly packed since Central Market’s opening a month ago. Just like Green Seed, the bar has a local, personal feel with just enough bustle to keep things exciting.

“We wanted people to come in as visitors and still have the neighborhood feel,” says Stephen. The purpose of the market is to create a community that anyone can join, even if it’s just for an hour or a lunch break.

For the community surrounding Central Market, Stephen says that the shops, especially Green Seed, are focused on meeting community needs. There is compost in the back, and salvageable foods that aren’t sold are donated to the Denver Rescue Mission. In addition, Green Seed tries to order produce that meets neighborhood needs.

While demands are still a bit of an unknown for such a new shop, Green Seed does plan on launching chia drinks, charcoal drinks and other juices that meet nutritional needs. They also plan on bringing in fresh flowers and more locally made goods, like cards and seasonal gifts.

Even though Curio has been the star of Central Market since its opening—with nothing but 5-star reviews and raves in local publications—Green Seed is a testament to the working model of Central Market; the idea that you can find what you need as close as a few hundred feet away.

Central Market: A Guide to the Spaces & Places

In September of 2016, Denver’s newest community marketplace, Central Market, opened its doors in RiNo. While predecessors The Source and Avanti pioneered a la cart communal dining in Denver, Central Market’s development focused around something different: to create a space where shops and owners could rely on one another for resources, making everything hyper-local and small-business-focused.

But the best part of Central Market isn’t the concept—it’s the atmosphere. As Denver continues to expand and neighborhoods continue to become more and more exclusive, Central Market can be a welcoming point for insiders and outsiders alike. While Central Market is located in the heart of RiNo, there is a whole new community inside its brick walls. Whether you’re a neighborhood local buying produce, a Denverite looking for fancy chocolates, or a tourist looking for a place to get a coffee, Central Market’s focus is on you and your needs.

If you’re looking for a full meal, salad, pizza, meat and sandwiches all happily coexist under Central Market’s roof. But if you’re not looking for a full meal and want to cook your own meal, Central Market also has options for you. We’ll walk you through these choices so you can plan your trip and enjoy the Market.

Quick & Easy

  • A sandwich from Culture might be quick, but it will also be gourmet and sourced from the finest cured meats available.
  • Pick up a slice of wood-fired pizza from Vero and a side of salad from Green Seed.
  • A cup of coffee from Crema is always a delight, especially when you can grab a pastry from Izzio’s to go along with it.

Lunch Meetings or Casual Conversation

  • A charcuterie board from Culture will be hand-picked and prepared by professionals—but if you see something you like, make sure to tell the team and they’ll put it on there for you.
  • If you prefer your meats slow-roasted instead of cured, get a meal at SK Provisions. Don’t expect it to be quick though—you’ll probably want to stay and eat in the communal space or at the tables outside.

Dinner & Dessert

  • Both Vero and SK Provisions have great dinner options, with hearty entrees and interesting choices.
  • Stop at RiNo’s first ice cream shop, High Point Creamery, for dessert. Grab a cone to go or sit back and enjoy the atmosphere in the community eating space.
  • If you’re into chocolate, don’t miss Temper Chocolates. Besides the truffles looking and tasting like a work of art, they are handmade in-house with local ingredients.

Take Home

  • Silvas Fish is one of the only fish mongers in Denver, and the shop provides fresh catches for local restaurants in RiNo. Grab some tuna, salmon or fresh shucked oysters and cook yourself something great.
  • The Local Butcher is a unique butcher shop in Denver since you don’t need to go to the butcher AND to the grocery store: Central Market has everything you need to complete a meal. Grab some Colorado steak at the Local Butcher then head to Green Seed for potatoes and greens. It’s hard to find fresher products in Denver proper.

No matter the time of day or your choice of shop, Central Market is focused on providing community, provisions and a space for anyone and everyone that walks in its doors. As Denver continues to grow, communities like Central Market are instrumental to keeping the city unique and connected. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of the RiNo neighborhood, even if it’s just over lunch.

Exploring Denver’s Cider Scene

It used to be that if you didn’t like beer, you were left with minimal options to consume an alcoholic beverage save a few malt beverages or cider options (assuming, of course, wine and hard alcohol weren’t appealing). However, as multiple cider mills have opened up across the country, including here in Colorado, hard cider has become a viable drink option in its own right. And while it might not be as easy to do a “cider crawl” through Denver as it would be for checking out local beer taprooms, Denver is increasing its presence in the cider scene with a number of cider mills, bars and tasting rooms that are making a name for themselves at both local and national levels.

Stem Ciders

Located off of 28th and Walnut, Stem Ciders offers a rotating selection of both popular and seasonal ciders on tap and take home in bottles or growlers. They offer a wide selection of ciders from standard apple and crab apple to those made with apricots or coffee. Throughout the week, the tasting room hosts a series of events, including cider and macaron pairings, live music, and trivia nights. Local food trucks are often parked outside of the venue, meaning patrons can enjoy their libation of choice and some food alongside it. Stem Cider is open throughout the week with evening hours on weekdays and a schedule from noon to close over the weekends. Whether you’re looking to try out a new cider or enjoy an event along with it, Stem Ciders has a lot to offer.

Colorado Cider Company

Gaining in notoriety on the national scale, the Colorado Cider Company offers a variety of ciders and types for all palates, including dry ciders, those made with other fruits, and some with floral notes. While they don’t host too many events in their actual tasting room, their ciders are frequently available at local events and tastings. The CCC tasting room is located off 26th and West 2nd Avenue, with operating hours Friday – Sunday. While tucked away in what might be described as a warehouse, the open feel of the room and the ability to kick back and try a few tasty ciders makes it well worth the stop.

C Squared Ciders

Relatively new to the cider game in Denver, situated in the hip RiNo district of Denver in an old book binding warehouse, C Squared Ciders serves its ciders in a tasting room called The Juicebox that shares space with Bierstadt Lagerhouse Brewery and the Rackhouse Restaurant. Patrons can tour a cidery and brewery in the same building and enjoy the benefits of a full service restaurant. While sipping drinks customers can also look out from a mezzanine to the production areas below. C Squared Ciders offers a number of creative combinations and types, making it a great stop on a Denver cider tour.

Denver’s cider scene is still very much up-and-coming, and much like the microbrew explosion of a few years ago, it can be expected to grow exponentially in the coming years.

Silver Spork Social: An Underground Supper Club

Silver Spork, an underground supper club, is one of Denver’s best-kept secrets and hardest to find events. Depending completely on word-of-mouth for marketing, the multi-course dinners and custom-designed cocktails from local talents are as fantastic as they are secret. The event, which can appear anywhere from empty warehouses to public gardens to unique houses, is about mystery and adventure—you won’t know where you’re going, what you’re eating or who you’ll see when you commit. Of course, you can sign up for Silver Spork’s email list, but you still won’t know where the events are until right before they happen.

Created by Colorado-native Paul Laurie, Silver Spork is a concept that the Mile High City was lacking before Paul developed it in 2013. Thinking of Denver as still a wild west and a new frontier, Paul aimed to bring a new element to the Denver dining scene. Paul conceptualized Silver Spork to showcase industry talents in Denver while also creating an event that he himself would enjoy attending. Featuring local chefs and bartenders, many from Denver’s most reputable restaurants, Silver Spork works on the concept of introducing people to good food, good company and an overall good time.

Silver Spork events range from around $75-$120 per person, and they feature multi-course meals with entertainment and drinks. While it might be hard to wrap your head around spending money on an event when you don’t even know where it is, the purpose of Silver Spork is to teach you to let things happen as they may, and to enjoy them as they come. Prior menus have included everything from appetizers of grape leaves stuffed with wheat berries to dinners with oxtail and riced potatoes to avocado mousse for dessert.

The company garnered a 6-month waiting list after its first event, leading Paul to explore new options and add unique touches. From Silver Spork, Paul started the event planning company Invisible City, which now includes Silver Spork as one of its events. Invisible City has led Paul to be named one of the top party planners in America, and his concepts have been featured everywhere from Bravo TV to the Denver Eater to 5280 magazine. Invisible City is aimed at helping people plan events of any size and scope, from small private events to large scale, public events. From weddings to dinner parties, Paul is taking Denver’s event-planning scene into his own hands and wrangling in the wild west of Denver’s event scene.

River North Workshop Brings Paint, Creativity and Local Retail to RiNo

Great things can be born out of necessity, and if Alicia Hendricks has anything to do with it, these great things will be painted with gorgeous chalk paint. As the owner and creative director of the River North Workshop, Alicia helped bring an entire block to RiNo as she searched for a creative space to paint furniture and host workshops.

River North Workshop began as a workshop concept out of Alicia’s home. Worried about insurance and space issues, Alicia worked with partner Fiona Arnold of River North Investment Co, to find a space that would work for hosting workshops, painting furniture and featuring local makers. Fiona found the space that would become Backyard on Blake, and with her company, developed the warehouse into a series of storefronts to create a micro-community in RiNo.

River North Workshop is quite literally the cornerstone of this micro-community, and it embodies the locally focused, collaborative space that Backyard on Blake is all about. Alicia and her team source locally made goods and go to extraordinary lengths to do so. Alicia is so dedicated to sourcing local products that her husband learned to make soap when she was unable to find a local soap maker. River North Workshops goal is to be as local as possible, and to work to help artists and makers provide a story for each of the products in the shop.

Likewise, the store gives shoppers a place to learn about their community and a place to meet their makers. With a large workshop area in the back of the store, River North Workshop doesn’t just focus on goods; they focus on teaching things that participants will love. Local artisans and makers host workshops at River North Workshop, and participants are taught skills that they can use later. Alicia only curates classes that she would take herself, and she is often in the space during the workshops. Participants are also encouraged to speak to their teachers as well as other participants, giving the River North Workshop a collaborative feel without any pretense or confusion.

Looking outside the Workshop windows at the thriving micro-community in Backyard on Blake, it’s hard to imagine that the concept was once without a permanent home. As RiNo continues to grow and develop, River North Workshop is the kind of business—retail, workshop space, and community—that the neighborhood needs more of. Check River North Workshop’s website for the class schedule, or stop in to buy some locally created goods.

The Best Happy Hour in Denver, from Champagne to Burritos

Finding a happy hour in Denver isn’t hard. Finding one that’s actually enjoyable, well that’s another story. Many Denverites will settle for a place near their office, but sometimes, you just want something special. Our list has been curated to help you hit the spots that have great deals and unique offerings. We also took atmosphere, crowd-size and service into account so you can really have the happiest hour (or two).

Corridor 44

You might wind up walking past Corridor 44 in Larimer Square, since it blends in a little with other local restaurants, but if you love champagne, this is the best happy hour in Denver for you. From 3-6 pm, M-F, Corridor 44 offers $4 champagne cocktails. And we’re not talking the cheap stuff, either. With classics like the Kir Royale and modern twists like Grape Bubble Yum, Corridor 44 really has a champagne cocktail for everyone. The décor is a bit posh, but not overly so, and you’ll always be able to find a seat for happy hour.

Hapa Sushi

Hapa is known as a great date-night place, but the happy hour menu is by far the best sushi happy hour in Denver. Drinks range from $3.50 flasks of sake to $4.25 Mango Gin Ginger, and the happy hour menu is delightfully full of traditional starters and rolls for half their typical prices. Hapa has a few locations, but almost all of them start to fill up around 5:30 for dinner. Hit happy hour between 2:30 and 5:30, and you won’t regret it.

Illegal Pete’s

If casual is your thing, Illegal Pete’s is sure to please. Like Hapa, IP’s has a few locations, but they all boast some of the longest happy hours in Denver. With drink specials from 3-8 pm, and 11 pm – 1 am, IP’s is a contender for some of the best deals around. Their happy hour features $4 margaritas, $8 Coors pitchers, and free chips and salsa with a drink. Pair your margarita with a burrito, taco or bowl, and you’ll be in for a great night. Don’t forget the queso. If you’re into quiet, IP’s isn’t the best place because no matter the location, there’s always some rock n’ roll on the radio, so stay away if you want a quiet place to spend your happy hour.

Panzano

Panzano’s happy hour is legendary among Denver foodies. Because the restaurant is a bit pricey, it usually flies under the radar for deal-seekers. But every day, from 2:30-6, Panzano features a happy hour with $5 drinks, $4 drafts, and a sampling of the restaurant’s best menu items for relatively low prices. These include pesto gnocchi for $7, mushroom crepes with truffle oil for $6, and olive plates for $5. Panzano’s happy hour is also perfect for an after-work date that impresses but doesn’t leave your wallet empty.

Best Neighborhoods to Window Shop

While Denver offers its share of malls and shopping centers, it also has plenty of neighborhoods and streets that showcase smaller boutiques, restaurants and bars, all of which make an ideal way to spend an afternoon. And it’s these neighborhoods that we consider to be the best places to shop in Denver.

South Pearl Street

Located just south of Denver near the very popular Washington Park, South Pearl Street is a popular destination for diners and shoppers alike. South Pearl is home to a number of iconic Denver restaurants, including Sushi Den, which is recognized as one of the best Sushi restaurants in Denver, the Duffeyroll cafe, which offers some of the best cinnamon rolls and breakfast sandwiches in the Denver area, and Stellas, a wonderful coffeehouse frequented by students and professionals alike. The street offers a number of other dining and drinking options, offering everything from tasty burgers to upscale Japanese fair, as well as a beer tasting room and a wine bar. Shoppers enjoy the boutique shops and art galleries offering gifts, clothing, and housewares. Throughout the summer months, the street closes on Sunday for a Farmer’s Market, and there are a number of events offered throughout the season.

Historic Downtown Littleton

Situated off of Main Street and Santa Fe Boulevard, downtown Littleton is just 9 miles south of Downtown Denver and accessible by the C & D lines on the RTD Lightrail station on the Downtown Littleton stop. The shopping district has a variety of different shops, restaurants and services, and shoppers can find anything from specialty chocolates, to gifts, to spices, to antiques and both new and vintage clothing. The area provides a variety of restaurants as well, and those who are hungry will find options for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or even just a cup of coffee or tea. Throughout the year, Littleton hosts a number of events to commemorate the holidays or to offer patrons extra hours for shopping.

Highlands Square

Just west of Downtown Denver, the trendy Highlands neighborhood centers around Highlands Square. There are a number of shops that line the streets here; including those that sell clothing, shoes, and other goods. Whether you choose to take in a happy hour appetizer and drink at one of the many local bars, get ice cream at Little Man or Sweet Cow, or shop at one of the many gift shops. There are restaurants to meet any price point, dietary preference, or cuisine desire.

Cherry Creek North

Located just a few miles away from central Downtown, Cherry Creek North is one of the most iconic (and expensive) neighborhoods to shop in. Throughout the numerous city blocks, shoppers can find any type of fare from an upscale steak at Del Friscos to a burger at the iconic Cherry Cricket. Shoppers can also find numerous spots to get a cup of coffee, desserts, or happy hour libations. There are several clothing stores and specialty shops, and the area is well-known for its art galleries as well. Throughout the year the neighborhood also plays host to events including the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, which is quite popular in Denver.

The Denver metro area has numerous unique neighborhoods where shoppers and diners can enjoy an afternoon or an evening out. While a few are mentioned above, there are others in Denver as well.

Best Drives From Denver to Enjoy Fall Colors

With the abundance of aspen trees, Colorado provides a number of opportunities to see beautiful fall colors. However, Colorado weather is notoriously unpredictable, especially in between seasons, which makes it difficult to determine the optimal time to see colors. The higher the altitude, the earlier the colors change. While in other parts of the country, the most beautiful color changes happen in October, most of Colorado’s high country, especially the aspen trees, tend to change color in September. There are a number of places in the Denver metro area and foothills that people can go to experience autumn foliage, many of which make a nice drive from Denver or are located nearby at local parks and paths.

Trail Ridge Road

A drive unto itself regardless of the season, Trail Ridge Road is one of the best drives in Colorado regardless of when you drive it. The highway connects Estes Park to Grand Lake, and 11 of the 48 miles are above tree line. But before and after the crest of the drive, motorists will be treated to a wide array of colors. Be sure to check road conditions before you go as weather changes quickly, and once snow plows are no longer able to keep up with the snow, the road closes for the season.

Peak to Peak Scenic Highway

From I-70 to Estes Park, this 3-hour drive provides beautiful views of yellow and golden colored Aspen trees. Passing numerous mountains and hiking opportunities along the way and even a few mines that will allow visitors to pan for gold (for a small fee), the byway was established in 1918 and is Colorado’s oldest scenic byway.

Guanella Pass

Running roughly 22 miles from Georgetown to Grant, Guanella Pass is only open while the weather permits. Much of the drive goes over tree line, but drivers will pass various types of environments and beautiful colors along the way. Those who make the drive will be treated to beautiful views of Mt. Bierstadt and Mt. Evans, and a drive back through Bailey allows for a stop at the iconic Coney Island Hot dog stand.

Highline Canal & Denver Parks

Even in the Denver metro area, there are numerous opportunities to experience fall colors. Various types of trees line Denver area parks, and there are many opportunities to play in the leaves and experience fall. The Highline Canal too offers multiple opportunities to enter and exit, and there are numerous views of the mountains and changing colors. Be aware that colors in the lower altitudes change a bit later, so take note of what is happening to the trees and pick a nice weekend day for a walk.

The best way to ensure you see some of Colorado’s color is to plot out a weekend to take a drive or a hike without a specific destination set. While it’s good to have options picked out ahead of time, be sure to check the Online to determine of your set destination has already achieved optimal color and consider changing destinations depending on projections.

A Quick Guide To Business Networking in Denver

While Denver might be known for a lot of things—being a physically fit city with 300 days of sunshine—the friendly nature of its inhabitants is an oft overlooked perk of living in the Mile High City. For those coming from more harried locales, the friendliness of Denverites can be off-putting at first. Especially in more competitive environments, like business.

Navigating the business world of Denver isn’t that different from other major cities, but Denverites may seem a little more relaxed, often choosing their Northface fleece over a sport jacket, or their sneakers over dress shoes. Here’s our quick guide to networking in the Mile High—it’s not so different from anywhere else, but you might want a few tips before someone surprises you with a hug instead of a handshake.

Hugs Not Handshakes

This doesn’t apply to all industries or people, but a lot of folks in Denver will be prone to hugging instead of shaking your hand. Consider this a warning that within your first year of living in Denver, you will be hugged more than you have anywhere else.

Where to Go

Denver is a city that actually sleeps, and weekends here are basically for the mountains, but there is plenty of opportunity to network in the Mile High. First, consider your industry. If you’re a creative, check out Creative Mornings for a great lecture series as well as a community. Have an entrepreneurial spirit? Participate in Denver Startup Week and get your name out there.

Networking in Denver doesn’t always have to be about work, though. One of the most magical things about living here is that nearly everyone has a side hustle or engaging hobby outside of work. Talk to people at the dog park. Join a running club at a local bar. Go to a Reddit meetup. There are so many opportunities to meet other human beings that you’re missing out if you just stay home and search LinkedIn or Facebook.

Be Ready To Actually Talk

There are a lot of cities where your money does the talking for you. There are places where your job title means more than your words. But in Denver, you’ll meet people of all walks that don’t ask about those things. They’ll question you about your dog, or your favorite mountain to hike, or where you like to ski. You’ll probably get asked about your favorite brewery at least a dozen times. It’s okay here to talk about it. In fact, it’s encouraged.

Don’t Burn Bridges

Denver is still a small town at its heart. Despite the thousands of people moving here, there’s still a sense of community, which can be both good and bad. Work with this community, not against it. Chances are that someone you know, knows someone else you know, and so on. Word gets around, and great creative or business opportunities can be lost over small problems.