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If a hound were moving to Denver, what neighborhood is chowest?

What may turn out to be nothing, their is a chance that we may be moving to Denver. I would love to hear what you 'hounds out there think would be a best case scenario neighborhood-wise. First, assume that while Denver is not a cheap place to live, the costs are a healthy bit lower than Boston and my wife's potential new job pays actually a tiny bit higher than now. So cost of area is secondary ($2000 1 bedrooms are the rule here).

3 factors to consider -
1. I was a chef for 15 years, in NYC, Seattle and the Bay area. While no longer in the kitchen (r and d/consulting). I prefer ethnic Asian and Mexican, gastropubs, raw bars,and good beer.
2. My wife does like some of the above, but prefers a 70 -80% vegetarian diet. Farmers markets and good grocers float her boat.
3. Ideally a car optional/not needed area.

Any ideas?

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  1. Down town Boulder would cover all your desires

    7 Replies
    1. re: paul balbin

      Is boulder close enough to commute to Capitol Hill?

      1. re: coolaugustmoon

        It would be a hefty commute. I'd suggest The Highlands (not Highlands Ranch).

        1. re: coolaugustmoon

          No it isn't. Check out Cherry Creek North and Wash. Park, among other good suggestions here.

          1. re: Veggo

            Thank you for some areas to focus our research. Is your city underrated food wise? Don't hear much aside from beer quality about Denver. I assume the Mexican rocks. What kind of Asian do you guys do well? Gastropub/food porn community?

            1. re: coolaugustmoon

              Don't eliminate Capitol Hill btw as a residence community. since one of you is working there.

              Where I live, between 9th and 10th on Washington St, is a very short walk to three of the best restaurants in Denver to my southeast and northeast (Fruition, Potager, and Table 6) and an even shorter walk to my southwest to three more, the heart of the Frank Bonanno empire (Luca d'Italia, Mizuna, Bones, and Vesper Lounge). There are also dive bars and cheesy Mexican and a Whole Foods (plus two conventional grocers, and also Tony's Market on Broadway a comfortable if not adjacent 7 blocks away on Broadway. Seven blocks to the north gets me to the restaurant row that is 17th Avenue in Uptown. Movie theater at 6th and Downing. And rents or new house prices are not inflated to Cherry Creek or Highlands levels.

              Any commute you can walk (I walk to 17th and Welton to work, much further than your within-Cap-Hill commute) is a good one.

              1. re: southdenverhoo

                Thank you. This is the kind of info I was looking for. A walkable commute for at least one of us in a neighborhood that has a variety of restaurants is ideal. Don't know your experiences in other parts of the country, but does comment towards the top about crap grocery options ring true? If so, is this in all Denver?

                1. re: coolaugustmoon

                  I don't live in Denver proper, I'm out near Brighton, so I'm not much help on picking a neighborhood in Denver. I just moved out here less than a year ago. I spent 2003 through 2010 in Chicago proper and spent 2011 and the first part of 2012 in Central CA (where I'm from originally). I don't find the grocery options to be crappy at all. There's some great specialty stores like Marczyk's http://www.marczykfinefoods.com/ and Tony's http://www.tonysmarket.com/retailer/s...

                  The big localish chain, King Soopers (owned by Kroger) actually has pretty decent produce at the locations I've been to, and they seem to make a good effort to carry items grown locally. I don't shop Whole Foods much these days due to budget, but when I do everything seems to be decent there. I also like shopping at Sprouts which is a regional chain... sort of a "poor man's" version of Whole Foods. Also out my direction (NE of downtown) there are farm stores like http://www.palombomarket.com/ and even a "pick your own" berry farm. http://www.berrypatchfarms.com/

                  I would agree w/ the consensus that you will need a car though. Denver just doesn't have the public transit infrastructure that other larger cities have. It's getting better though as they are expanding the light rail to go both west towards Lakewood and east out to the airport. Also be aware that while Denver has "neighborhoods", they're not like the neighborhoods you'd find in places like NYC or Chicago, which are basically towns within the city where you could live there and never leave that particular neighborhood. It's just not set up like that in Denver. That's why you'll need a car at least sometimes. I actually considered moving here from Chicago back in 2010, but I didn't think I'd like it because of some of the negatives already mentioned. But, love brought me here last year and now that I'm here, I really like it. Definitely a different pace than you find in larger cities though...

      2. Conside the uptown area.

        The Jer

        1. I absolutely hated living in Denver and the lack of good food was a major reason why. While there are some nice restaurants the food in the grocery stores (even Wild Oats, Whole Foods, etc.) is terrible and expensive so keep that in mind if you plan on cooking at home. I paid a lot of money for produce I wouldn't have even remotely considered buying in other cities I've lived in. Trader Joe's hasn't even opened there yet.

          The farmers markets there are small and have a very short season because of the weather(which also makes home gardening only a limited option.) I didn't have a car there (I had moved from a very public transport friendly city,) and found the bus possible but inconvenient, I walked a lot. A lot. Even in the snow. I rented a car frequently.

          I lived in Congress Park (12th and Milwaukee.) Its on the north side of Cherry Creek. Its a beautiful neighborhood. We loved the house we had there. It was one of the only things we liked about Denver.

          If you visit before moving there I recommend you visit grocery stores, markets, etc. that you think you would need before making the move.

          6 Replies
          1. re: weezieduzzit

            Ouch. Sorry you had a poor experience in Denver. For eight years I had a good one. Plenty of spring lamb and cloven hoofed animals and great sushi and Olathe corn plus peaches and cherries from Grand Junction. I caught my own trout. Gotta have a car to experience it all.

            1. re: Veggo

              We gave it our best but it just wasn't what we need a city to be.

              1. re: coolaugustmoon

                6 years now? Like I said, I highly recommend you visit the places you think you will need (groceries, markets, etc.) and check out the items you buy so you can make an informed decision. It was a rude awakening for me. I seem to remember farmers markets only running mid-June- Oct. so keep that in mind if you visit.

                1. re: weezieduzzit

                  Boulder County Farmers' Market started on April 6th. Tons of great small farms around like Red Wagon, Munson, Cure Organic, Oxford, Berry Patch. You don't have to shop at Whole Foods (and yes, there are Trader Joe's slated to open in Boulder and Denver if you're into that sort of thing). Sure, we have a shorter growing season than some places and it would be nice if mass transit options such as rail would expand more quickly, but the year-round sunshine, captivating mountains, and friendly people make it worth it to me to call this home. We also have B-cycle bike sharing now which is great for the "last mile" problem, a rail line is being built to DIA, BRT lanes are going in on Hwy 36, etc. The last 6 years have seen enormous positive changes in the dining scene on the Front Range and I'm confident that will continue (with The Source and Lower 48 being just two exciting things coming soon). We have The Truffle, Eat Drink, Marczyk's for cheese/charcuterie/etc. in Denver and Cured in Boulder. More restaurants like Basta, Black Cat, Sushi Den, Squeaky Bean, etc. are growing their own produce as well. We have a world class food and wine destination (Frasca) which expanded/swankified a couple of years ago and opened Pizzeria Locale next door complete with Stefano Ferrara oven. Two of their alums opened Oak down the street which is turning out some of the best craft cocktails and food you will find anywhere. Seems like you left right when things were getting interesting.

              2. re: weezieduzzit

                you are scaring me. we are moving to boulder in 2 months. i'm leaving behind year round farmers markets and my flip flops. and when are they going to get that darn trader joe's up and running? in 5 mile radius, i have access to about 5 TJ's now. we have a car so i'm sure that'll make a difference. i'm also mourning my easy access to the greatest sushi and japanese food markets. oh, are we making a mistake? well, there's no turning back. i'm already sad that this board doesn't have much action compared to the LA board. but we're moving for other reasons and food being not at the top of our list...

                i have had great food there so far. not great Japanese food but a fine meal at Table 6, The Kitchen, The Kitchen next Door Pizzeria Locale, etc. and i felt both the clientele and the staff lacked the pretentiousness that you often encounter in LA...

              3. Highlands or Cherry Creek. Highlands has Linger, Forest Room 5, Lola, Vita and there are a few more beautiful places a few blocks north of that. (P.S. - starting in May (I think) the Farmers's Mkt in front of Lola starts on Saturdays. At noon, the Miller Farms Stand sells grocery size bags for $12 that you can fill with their produce.
                Pick up a Westword (free weekly newspaper on what going on in town and has a listing of restaurants by neighborhood towards the back).
                Cherry Creek is more high end - but a lot of good places to eat. Just take a nice walk up and down 2nd and 3rd and check out the menus (Old standby's are Rodney's, The Cherry Cricket, Piatt's). Earl's (a chain) is good and you CANNOT beat the happy hour food (and prices) at Kona Grill in the mall. Also - go to citysearch.com to find out what new restaurants are in certain neighborhoods.
                And 6 years ago - Denver was definitely lacking on the food scene.

                1 Reply
                1. re: blythe

                  blythe, more of an FYI but Rodney's recently (back in Sept 2012) closed.

                2. Boulder would be perfect for your description - there's a reason Bon Appetit named it the country's "foodiest" town this year - but it's probably too far from Denver (though the buses do make the commute relatively easy). So... Highlands is an up-and-coming foodie neighborhood with lots of good restaurants and easy access to both South Federal's ethnic smorgasbord and downtown Denver's higher-end offerings (plus it's not too far to Boulder).

                  And opinions about the Denver food scene from 6 years ago aren't particularly relevant at this point - it's rapidly evolving and has been for several years. Farmer's markets are now everywhere with tons of great produce and products, and even the lower-end supermarket chains (King Soopers, Safeway) have beefed up their organic and bulk sections to where they're perfectly serviceable. There's a Trader Joe's going up in both Denver and Boulder right now as well.

                  I agree with the suggestion to check out Westword's food section, as well as the Denver Eater site. If you keep track of where the places they write about are, you'll get a pretty good sense of where the hot spots are.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: monopod

                    Thank you, I do read Eater and it wouldn't be hard to study up. Thanks for the insights.