While sitting on the patio underneath the comforting star that we call “The Sun,” swallowing food has become not only a necessity, but also a pleasure.
Denver has become a city that is developing stars in the kitchens of restaurants that comfort our souls. 5280 magazine has been compiling a “Top 25 Best Restaurants around Denver” for years now. The judgment has to be either a crap shoot or an underhanded persuasion up to the last rankings.
There are so many restaurants that have established themselves in recent years that are producing quality food and service; on some days, the best meal a person could have in Denver could be one out of 50 (or more) restaurants.
Literally, people have recently traveled from the other side of the world to establish their culinary art in
Denver. Mexican, French, African, Spanish, Italian, Greek, Polish, Chinese and Japanese cuisine has melted into Denver.
Sushi Den probably sounds scary to any person traveling to Denver from any coastal city. They probably think, eating raw seafood 1,000 miles from the nearest ocean, that is absurd.
However, the Sushi Den machine will buck all of a person’s intuitions. Brothers Toshi and Yasu Kizaki carefully choose their fish from not only around the country, but also have their brother, Koichi, hand pick fish in Japan. Koichi goes to the acclaimed fish market, Nagahama Fish Market, in southern Japan to pick fish and ship it to Denver twice a week.
“One of the reasons we wanted to bring fish into the United States was because we were competing with others. We had to do something dramatic,” Yasu said. “The profit margin has shrunk and the exchange rate is outrageous, but we do this because it separates us from the rest.”
Not only is Sushi Den separated from other sushi restaurants around Colorado, it is separated from most of all restaurants in Colorado. Sushi Den has consistently been in 5280s top five restaurants for several years now.
The Kizaikis came to Denver because they loved Colorado and they saw the opprtunity to share their craft and love of food. Even though the Kizakis keep most of their secrets to themselves, including how much revenue they generate yearly, it is reported that the figure is somewhere around $11 million.
Other acclaimed chefs and restauranteurs have decided to plant themselves in Denver more recently than the Kizakis. To the “foodies” around Denver, some of the local chefs are known as rock stars of the kitchen.
Amanda Faison, Senior Editor/Food Writer, 5280 Magazine, weighed in on her thoughts about the rising status of the Denver restaurant scene.
“I love that you can go completely casual at the iconic Cherry Cricket (2641 E. 2nd Ave.) or go high end places like Fruition (1313 E.6th Ave.) or Table 6 (609 Corona St.). But at all of these restaurants there’s a sense of comfort and familiarity that is so very Denver. Our city has made huge culinary strides in the last decade, and it’s exciting to see the local restaurant scene offer a little something for everyone,” Faison said.
John Elway not only became a God around Denver for his football performance as THE quarterback for the Denver Broncos, but he parlayed his saviness on the field with his Stanford education to create an empire of an auto sales company. Elway Motors was very successful, so Elway decided to tip his helmet and helicopter into the restaurant business around Denver.
Tyler Wiard, Chef, Elway’s, must have been chosen by Elway because of his love of and connection with the Denver restaurant scene.
“Denver has a great network of chefs who talk to each other on a regular basis about new ideas, philosophies, what’s new, have you been here, etc. We also will go to each other’s establishments and dine. We like to hang out together, we like learning from each other. We know that there is really good food and restaurants in Denver and we are always going to let people know that Denver has a killer food scene through our food and passion,” Wiard said.