After nearly two years of forced closures, capacity cuts and rule changes, restaurants and bars have enjoyed a full 12 months of operations in 2022 without pandemic-related restrictions. While challenges such as staffing shortages and problems with his chain of supplies continue to put pressure on the industry, Denver’s dining scene continues to grow.
Amidst the constant openings and new trends emerging, some hot topics have been circulating.
Last year, the debate over Casa Bonita’s future ended the Colorado way possible. south park Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have announced they are the new owners of this iconic spot. However, the ending was only the beginning of the story. This year, all information about The Pink Palace has been swallowed up as nostalgia-hungry people have been waiting for news about when it will reopen. Parker and Stone are spending big bucks to update the space and code everything. Meanwhile, many of its staff are paid salaries while working for various nonprofits around town. Five months from now he’ll finally get to see more than Casa Bonita’s new Pepto Pink paint job. Until then, this will remain a hot topic.
The challenges of running a restaurant during a pandemic (and covering the resulting losses), combined with inflation, have made our favorite restaurants more expensive this year. It’s getting harder and harder to find lunches under $15. Over $20 for a burger and fries is common these days. Yes, eating out is more expensive than ever, and many are wondering what the implications would be if people decided to tighten their budgets in the New Year. Using a national fast food chain as a case study, we presented the burrito effect, a picture analyzing how inflation reduces restaurant profitability. He raises the price of the burrito from $13.50 to $22.65. It’s not a price tag that anyone will happily devour, but sticker shock when dining out may be the new normal.
This year saw a flurry of new losses as many old favorites closed when COVID hit, costing them higher prices and understaffing. The closure began in his January, after 47 years of operation, and without warning, Breakfast King ceased operations. Then Denver lost Irish Snug, Nick’s Cafe, Annie’s Cafe, Bonnie Brae Tavern, Saucy Noodle and more. The sentiment, “I don’t recognize this city anymore,” was repeated over and over as the announcements came. It’s true. Denver is changing fast. But there are some glimmers of hope, like Tom’s Diner. Instead of being demolished, it’s been transformed into Tom’s Starlight, a cocktail lounge and eatery that boasts a swanky outdoor space you can’t wait to drink this summer.
Add high end
With recession concerns and established restaurants struggling, many new fine dining restaurants are still emerging in 2022. Smaller eateries like Noisette, a romantic spot serving French cuisine. , to celebrity chef Ludo Lefebreve’s Chez Maggy, to a seafood lover’s paradise, Water Grill, more high-end spots with higher prices have moved to Mile High. Denver is still a place where dress codes are almost non-existent, and some people would rather wait in line for a 24/7 Mexican drive-thru than make a reservation for a $33 fish and chips eatery. A lot, but these high-end spots attract a lot of people. Both starving locals and tourists.
Dining at Burbs
One of the most common complaints I hear about the subway food scene is that in the suburbs, chains are the only options. But if this year is any indication, it’s changing fast. Affordable real estate is hard to come by in Denver, so many privately owned ventures choose locations outside the city. Mama Lolita’s currently serves upscale Mexican cuisine in Bloomfield, and Arvada’s Stone Cellar Bistro, along with Greenwood Village’s Carrera’s Tacos, made the list of the 10 best restaurants to open in 2022. When La Rola Colombian decided to look for a permanent her dig, she chose Littleton. Next year, Wheat Ridge will be his two most anticipated opening locations in 2023. Rich Spirits is a bagel shop offshoot of the popular Bakery Four. GetRight’s is a bakery and plant-his-shop combo that started as a pandemic startup.
New chain moving to Colorado
As much as we love our local eateries, we’re seeing a lot of chain reactions and reactions in the dining scene. , and that trend continued this year. Major fast food outlets such as Whataburger and El Pollo Loco are back in the state after a long absence. Smaller chains have also debuted, such as Graze Craze, which focuses on centenary charcuterie. Crisp & Green has opened three of his stores in the Denver area, and he has nearly 20 more under construction. New York-born Van Leeuwen Ice Cream now has scoop shops in Denver and Boulder. More regional chains are expected in 2023, including PrimoHoagies and Chicken Salad Chick.
Kentucky Fried Chicken
Nashville Hot Chicken peaked in popularity in Denver last year, but in 2022, a new chicken trend has ruled the roost. “KFC now stands for ‘Korean fried chicken,'” said Alex Lee. Westward Earlier this year. Lee owns two locations of her bb.q Chicken that have debuted in the states so far. This is just one of her new options for crunchy, saucy, and often spicy fried chicken. While many such as bb.q Chicken and Bonchon are chains with locations all over the world, others such as Mono Mono are locally grown. Each KFC does things a little differently, but one of the best things she’s done this past year has been eating as many dishes as she can. Next year’s trends: bubble tea and Korean hot dogs.
Vegan food for all
The rise of plant-based food options is nothing new, but in 2022, vegan diets have become mainstream. In January, his two new bars opened with his vegan-focused food menu. Fellow Traveler is a vegan, status-independent eatery on South Broadway in Inglewood. These spots just happen to be (mostly) meat-free and cool places to hang out. The team behind Somebody People also opened a new vegan location called Everyday Pizza. Near the University of Denver, Next His Level His Burger brings vegan-friendly fast food to the neighborhood, and next door Bird Cole has added meatless meat alternatives to its menu. Whether you’re always opting for a meat-free diet or simply want to incorporate plant-based foods into your diet, it’s easier than ever to eat vegan at Mile High these days.
There is no way around this. Social media is an essential tool for many restaurants, and influencers play a powerful role in promoting your restaurant. TikTok had the biggest impact this year. Short videos showing cheese pulls and colorful cocktails from accounts like @denverfoodscene and @thedenverfoodie garner hundreds of thousands of views, driving new customers to the places featured. For the beloved Japanese restaurant Domo, which had a viral moment in 2021, unexpected attention ultimately led to its demise. But for the most part, harnessing the power of TikTok has become a way to boost business at a time when the market is saturated with options and budgets for marketing are nearly impossible. However, this has a major drawback. When another piece of content is caught, followers will simply move on to the next location, so the buzz rarely continues.
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