Archive for August, 2011

Coohills 1400 to Open this Fall. By the Creek!

Watch for this new restaurant from Tom and Diane Coohill at 1400 Wewattta. Construction in the space is well underway now, and the owners are hoping for an early November debut.

The location is at the Southwest corner of the 1400 Wewatta building, nicely off the street and overlooking Cherry Creek. The menu promises to have a good variety of small and large plates, lunch and dinner service as well as a patisserie, fresh and local ingredients, and the influence of the chef’s French training.

From their website: “Proprietor and Chef Owner Tom Coohill trained with culinary masters at the three-star Michelin L’Oustau de Baumaniere in France, the five-star Mobile Le Francais in Illinois and Le Ste. Germain and Ma Maison in Los Angeles. He has been invited as a Guest Chef at the James Beard House in New York and was the owner of the renowned Ciboulette in Atlanta.”

This will be a good spot, close to residents and businesses and on the way to the Pepsi Center or anywhere else in LoDo. Watch for more on this new Downtown restuarant! Welcome to Denver!

RTD Gets Its Train Back Together Again!

Light Rail service returned to the Lower Downtown area today with the opening of the new LRT Platform, part of the FasTracks program and Union Station re-development. Good to see! Monday mornings should all be spent with brass bands, speechifying and all the usual suspects in attendance. 

RTD's New "Riverfront Station" Open Now!

Now the trains run again, and the shuttle is extended to get the Mall traffic out to that new platform. New for the shuttle: stoplight at Wewatta; stoplight at Chestnut; stoplight at 17th and Chestnut for the left turn into the new station. The voice on the station-bound Mall Shuttle announces “Next stop Union Station, Southbound Light Rail.” Then, what seems like several minutes later…and after a few more blocks, traffic and lights…it does arrive at the new platform.

Don’t take us wrong. The improvements are welcome. The further progress of the entire project is greatly anticipated. But, in a way, it’s not Union Station anymore. Why don’t they call it “Riverfront Station”, or, in deference to Invesco Field at Mile High, which nobody likes and may not change for the better, try “Riverfront Station at Union.” Think that will get any traction?

I don’t either. Thank you, RTD, for putting the train back together. And, we mean that.

Talking Points: Meet Downtown Resident Mel Cruger!

Each week, we’ll introduce you to someone you may, or may not know who lives in Downtown Denver. And, each week, we’ll ask that person five questions…always the same. But, we’re sure to get a lot of different answers! Each week’s interviewee will also be archived on the page titled “Talking Points” at the top of this site. Let us know what you think.

Mel Cruger hails originally from the Tarrytown, New York area and he attended Williams College. After a few years in New York City in the ad agency biz, he joined the corporate ranks for a long and successful career. Mel moved to Downtown Denver seven years ago…and he loves it. We talked with Mel at a famous neighborhood brewery, the Wynkoop, another success story.

Mel Cruger, photo Diane Huntress

What’s the best thing about living Downtown?

Access. To the sports venues, the cultural events, restaurants. It’s just easy to get to everything!

What’s been the biggest change since you moved Downtown?

So much construction. But, it’s been a positive thing, particularly in LoDo, where the new buildings really reflect and add to the character of the neighborhood.

What don’t we have downtown that we need?

You know, I really can’t think of anything. That says something!

Where do you like to go when you go away from Downtown?

To Boulder to visit my seven grandchildren! And, Boulder’s a fine place, too.

Tell us something about yourself that most people wouldn’t know.

Well, we lived in Brazil for five years. And, I speak fluent Portuguese. But, I don’t use it very often Downtown!

Mel’s a guy that cares about the city, his family and his friends. Thanks, Mel!

While Rockies Go “Clunk”, Elitch Gardens Goes “BOOM”!

Hide the dogs! It’s fireworks time again tonight in Downtown Denver.

Elitch Gardens has been blowing up a lot of its marketing budget this summer. And, tonight, August 11 calls for a big shot.

They are celebrating the nomination of two of their “shows” for some national amusement park entertainment awards. The celebration is taking the form of 10 fireworks shows between now and Labor Day. The biggest blasts are planned for tonight and Labor Day, September 3. Tonight, if you like, you can drive over there and park in their parking lot for free after 8:30 and buy food and beverages. Sort of like a drive-in movie…if you remember those. And, if you really want to get up close and personal with the incendiaries.

So, that’s what the noise will be for several nights until Labor Day. Then, the neighborhood dogs should come out of hiding just in time for the Rockies final fireworks night on Friday, September 16. There may not be much noise from Coors Field until then. Wait until next year.

(Addendum: The fireworks were a bust, also. The dogs should be safe! — ed.)

Yet Another Fight in LoDo!

Watch Next Week for "Tamale Takedown!"

Here’s one battle that is actually going to take place Downtown tonight. No sooner did we know about this event a few weeks ago that they announced it was Sold Out! So, no promotion here, just letting you know what that big tent is at Union Station.

Later it will be filled with 12 restaurants vying for the title of Denver’s Best Burger. And, a bunch of beautiful people who paid $65 or $85 to mingle, taste, drink, exercise their burger judgement and cajol the evening away in a tent…inside a fence. We hope it smells good. Check tomorrow’s sports page for the winners.

Downtown Sports a Real Grocery Store!

Welcome to Dean’s Urban Market! Located on the north side of Park Avenue West (23rd), between Market and Blake, Dean’s is easily accessible from LoDo, the Ballpark Neighborhood and Curtis Park…and anyone driving by. Parking is adjacent. And, they have what you need!

Thanks to Owner/Manager James Dean and his family for this new urban jewel. The Dean’s also have a store in Fairplay, so they know the business. This converted feed store building is full of real groceries, site-made foods and baked goods, packaged meats, great produce with a large organic selection as well, and a lot of watermelons. Prices are normal for a grocery store, so forget the trip to Un-Safeway or King Soopers, the grocery store in a basement, and stop here. Then, you won’t have to make that extra stop from your trip to Whole Foods or Vitamin Cottage that you always had to make to get paper goods that actually work.

We liked Dean’s. And, we liked meeting James Dean. You will, too.

Our next purchase there will include a package of pre-chopped pancetta, and some herbs-de-provence almonds. Along with the dish soap, some mangoes and a watermelon. (By the way, you can weigh that watermelon along with yourself on the old floor mounted scale still in place from the feed store days.) And, no slurpees!

Welcome to the neighborhood!

(Photos by Diane Huntress, and the “thumbs up” from LoDo resident and observer of all things of quality, Andy Youtz)

Talking Points: Meet the Mysterious Didier Padirac

Each week, we’ll introduce you to someone you may, or may not know who lives in Downtown Denver. And, each week, we’ll ask that person five questions…always the same. But, we’re sure to get a lot of different answers! Each week’s interviewee will also be archived on the page titled “Talking Points” at the top of this site. Let us know what you think.

Downtown has its share of characters. For our “interview” this week we’ve taken a bit of liberty with one of those, not using his stage name, but digging into his real background. We caught up with Didier at the cleaners.

There are those who would have you think that he was hatched out of an egg unearthed when they started to build Coors Field. Not true, says Didier. He did hatch, but from an egg in Southwest France. Modern jet travel brought him to Denver in time for his 1994 debut.  He has no known relatives.

What is the best thing about living Downtown?

I have so many friends. Mostly kids. But, really the best thing is this secret cave I found under the place where I work. And, whenever they start shooting off those way-too-loud fireworks, I’m the first one down there. I told all the dogs in the neighborhood about it, and how to get there off Blake Street. So, fireworks time becomes a real neighborhood gathering. The dogs come over and we play poker.

What don’t we have that we need Downtown?

I may be channeling here, but I’ll go with more pocket parks and, therefore, fewer parking lots. More trees. More 2-way streets. Slow everything down. Heck, maybe even speed bumps. I don’t drive, but I have to cross streets. Make them safer.

What’s been the biggest change since you have lived Downtown?

Well, I used to go running every day with this guy named Ubaldo. He’s gone now. So, I guess I’ll have to say high heels. Yes, high heels.

What’s your favorite place to go away from Downtown?

I have a very good friend I visit. Very special. So, I go there whenever I can get a ride. It’s close to Aurora…but not too close.

Tell us something about yourself that most people would not know.

Well, of course, being from France, when I came to this country I had to make a lot of adjustments. What I drink. What I eat. So, what no one knows is that I subsist entirely on the leftover nachos that people leave under their seats at the place where I work.

Thank you for that, Didier. Bon chance!