Denver’s Train to the Plane: A Game Changer for Denver and the Region

2016 April 22
by David Schlichter
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The new commuter rail line starts at Denver’s Union Station, seen here on the rail line’s opening day.

The “train to the plane,” officially known as the University of Colorado A Line, started running today between Denver’s Union Station and Denver International Airport, and it is, without a doubt, going to be a game-changer for the region.  In 37 minutes, riders can get between downtown and the airport on a commuter rail line that runs every 15 minutes, removing the wild card of I-70 traffic, reducing the time needed for parking and shuttling once at the airport, and providing point to point service between the international hub that initially brings people to this city (the 6th busiest airport in the world) and the heart of downtown Denver.

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People waited in a line that extended from behind Union Station all the way around it and to the front of the building.

Lines of people eager to take a free ride lined up behind Union Station, around the corner of it…and then around the corner again all the way to the front of the building.  The energy and excitement around the new rail line was palpable, and the beautiful rehabilitation of Union Station provided a spectacular setting for such a monumental event for the city.

A line map

A map of the new A line (Source: RTD-Denver)

The new line enhances our credibility and functionality as a major international city in which to live, work, and play, makes it easier for residents and visitors to get to and from the airport, and has already served as an engine for development downtown and in the northeast quadrant of the city.  RiNo has exploded in the last few years, and this new line will only further enhance its rapid development.  Now, neighborhoods like Whittier, Cole, Swansea, Globeville, Clayton, North Park Hill, Stapleton, Montbello, and Green Valley Ranch will have even easier access to the heart of downtown (and to the airport)–and while these neighborhoods have already seen significant appreciation in real estate prices in anticipation of the new line, expect values to rise and development to take off even more rapidly now that the line is complete.  And fun fact: if you’re a beer lover (whether you live in Denver or want to come from afar to enjoy what we have to offer) there are at least 20 breweries within one mile of a stop on the new line (here’s an article with them all).

Denver has been getting lots of Good national press lately, and with the new A line out to the airport, the recently launched W line from Denver to Golden, the forthcoming B line to Boulder, and all of the other Good things going on in this city, I believe the sun is rising over a truly great new era in Denver’s history.  For those of us who live here, we are all very lucky to be experiencing and participating in it.  For those of you who are reading this from elsewhere–come see what the excitement is all about!

The Good Life Denver is written by David Schlichter. To stay in the loop, like The Good Life Denver on Facebook and follow @thegoodlifeden on Twitter and @thegoodlifedenver on Instagram!

In addition to writing for The Good Life Denver, David works full-time as a Denver real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty Downtown, LLC. David and his team help clients (ranging from sellers, to buyers, to seasoned investors) achieve their residential real estate goals. Contact David today for all of your Denver real estate needs. Direct: 720-440-2340

The National Media is Celebrating Denver

2016 April 8
by David Schlichter
Underground Music Showcase Photo (Visit Denver)

The Underground Music Showcase (Photo Credit: Visit Denver)

Denver has been undergoing an amazing transition over the last twenty years, and people all across the country are finally starting to notice!  We’re growing more rapidly than almost anywhere in the country.  Our real estate market is the hottest in the country.  Our dining scene has gone from Good to phenomenal.  Unemployment is lower here than any large US city.

It brings me great joy to write about all of the Good things going on in Denver, and, last week, the New York Times jumped on the bandwagon.  The article describes Denver as being on the “sunny side of the economy” due to our our low unemployment rate, economic diversification, real estate development, start-up energy, investments in infrastructure, prevalence of research and skilled labor, lifestyle, and more.  You can find the full article here, and I encourage everyone to read it!

Forbes also recently featured an article called “5 Reasons You Should Plan a Trip to Denver Right Now,” citing the redevelopment of Union Station, the fantastic food, the updated Ritz Carlton hotel and spa, the Good beer, and the trendy marketplaces.  That article can be found here.

And last month, US News & World Report named Denver the “Best Place to Live” in the entire US.  The study compared American cities’ quality of life, job market, value of living there, and people’s desire to live there.  An article about it in the Denver Business Journal can be found here, and here is a link to ranking page.

While in some ways it is bittersweet that Denver is no longer America’s best kept secret, the recognition the city is getting is well deserved.  We are so fortunate to live here, and I’m very excited by what is still yet to come!  Thanks to everyone who is making Denver such a great place to live, work, and play!

The Good Life Denver is written by David Schlichter. To stay in the loop, like The Good Life Denver on Facebook and follow @thegoodlifeden on Twitter and @thegoodlifedenver on Instagram!

In addition to writing for The Good Life Denver, David works full-time as a Denver real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty Downtown, LLC. David helps his clients (ranging from sellers, to buyers, to seasoned investors) achieve their real estate goals. Contact David today for all of your Denver real estate needs. Direct: 720-440-2340

Must-Try New Restaurant: Arcana in Boulder

2016 February 24
by David Schlichter
Arcana The Good Life Denver

The Oxford Greens from Arcana in Boulder

Boulder’s Arcana Restaurant opened just over a week ago, and it is VERY Good.

We’ve had the chance to visit lots of area restaurants shortly after they’ve opened, and they almost always have quite a few hiccups in the first few days of operation.  Servers may not be familiar with the whole menu, incorrect dishes might be served, timing can be off, etc.  We visited Arcana on the first Saturday it was open, though, and the food, the service, and the overall experience were all impeccable from start to finish–no hiccups whatsoever.

There are a lot of “New American” restaurants in Denver and Boulder these days, but Arcana restaurant takes a somewhat different approach to American cuisine.  Rather than focusing on what’s “new” for the future, Arcana creates dishes inspired by the country’s past.

“We fully believe that in years to come we will look back at this moment in our history and see it as the renaissance of American identity as it relates to food. In our exploration of American cuisine, Arcana will look to historic preparations and ingredients while honoring our own regionality.  Arcana will look to honor all of the influences of our past as a country to create a cuisine that is bold, creative, and unflinchingly American, in the truest sense of the word. Don’t be surprised to see influences from Western Africa, South America, and Native American traditions on the menu.  At Arcana we will never stop imagining how to exceed your expectations.”

Nearly everything at the restaurant is made from scratch, including the bitters the bar uses in its cocktails (which, by the way are delicious).   Fermenting, ember-roasting, and pickling are just a few of the techniques Arcana employs to create bold, unusual, and mouth-watering flavors.  The plating technique is beautiful, and you can tell that husband and wife owners Elliott and Annie Toan put an enormous amount of love into the crafting and execution every last detail of the restaurant.

One common pitfall that can cause new restaurants to experience growing pains when first launching is offering a large and complex menu right out of the gates.  Arcana avoided this temptation, though, opting instead to open with a focused (and delicious) ten-item dinner menu, with each dish executed to perfection.  In the coming weeks the restaurant will be adding several dishes to its menu and will eventually feature a new dish each night.

The Oxford Greens with pickled egg, ham, Aleppo chili, wild flower, and sumac was bright and refreshing.  The Shawnee Cake was the highlight of our night–a cornmeal based griddle cake was topped with easily the best crispy pork belly I’ve ever eaten in my life, fermented chili, green apple, and yogurt.  The Colorado Trout was tasty with fire carrot, carrot top pesto, crispy onion, chili, and buttermilk.  The Capped Pork Loin was excellent and perfectly salty, served with a mouth-watering pork sausage (made with house-made fermented chilis), lacinato kale, kabocha squash, and house-made crème fraîche.  For dessert, the carrot cake with maple, hibiscus, burnt tangelo, and ginger ice cream was absolutely divine–we only wish that there was more of it.  The same goes for the layer cake with brown butter, chocolate, compressed apple, whiskey, and quinoa ice cream.

It isn’t often that we go to Boulder just to dine out, but trust us when we say that Arcana is well worth the trip from Denver.  And if the restaurant was this Good on week one, we can’t wait to see what it will accomplish after a few weeks, months, and years of operation.  In the mean time, we are already trying to figure out when we can come back for seconds…

Arcana is located at 909 Walnut St. in Boulder.

Arcana Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Good Life Denver is written by David Schlichter. To stay in the loop, like The Good Life Denver on Facebook and follow @thegoodlifeden on Twitter and @thegoodlifedenver on Instagram!

In addition to writing for The Good Life Denver, David works full-time as a Denver real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty Downtown, LLC. David helps his clients (ranging from sellers, to buyers, to seasoned investors) achieve their real estate goals. Contact David today for all of your Denver real estate needs. Direct: 720-440-2340

Railroad Earth Returns to Colorado: Andy Goessling Discusses Railroad Earth and the Colorado Music Scene

2016 February 8
by David Schlichter

[UPDATE: The two Denver shows have been postponed to 3/25 and 3/26 due to an illness.]

Railroad Earth is returning to Colorado for a two night run at The Fillmore in Denver on Friday and Saturday night followed by two shows at Belly Up in Aspen.  The band, whose first gig was nearly 15 years ago on the main stage at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, has maintained a loyal following in Colorado, and it seems that every time they play in Colorado magic happens on stage.

I spoke today with Railroad Earth’s Andy Goessling, who plays acoustic guitar, banjo, dobro, mandolin, lap steel, saxophones (sometimes two at once), flute, and pennywhistle about the evolution of the band, the Colorado music scene, and more.  Below are excerpts from my interview.

***

Railroad Earth’s first real gig was the main stage of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in 2001. Though home base is New Jersey, it seems that your visits to Colorado are something of a homecoming. What is it like from the band’s perspective to come back to Colorado?

It just seems like you’re going back to where everything is really happening, and every band now is passing through Colorado.  One day I was looking through an entertainment magazine in Colorado, and I counted 200 venues on a Friday night.  So coming to Colorado is coming to a real music community.  The night you’re playing there are tons of people playing.  It’s a really happening entertainment center.  It gives you a lot of excitement to rise to the occasion.  Everybody’s out on Friday night playing, and you’re just one of tons of live musicians that are out there putting a show on, so it’s just really cool feeling like you’re in a community. And the concert-goers, they might go to two or three shows in one night.  They might have even already hit two shows before they came to yours, so it’s just a really cool feeling because they are really excited–seeing and absorbing the music.

It seems like your Colorado fan base is among the strongest you have across the country–is that fair?

Yeah, definitely.  I’d say it’s the strongest audience.

Why do you think that is?

Well, like attracts like–with that many venues, with that much music to be seen, it just keeps on sucking in talent and people from 5-10 states away.  At this gig I did yesterday I ran into someone I knew and they said, “Our daughter’s not here anymore, she moved out to Denver, and she’s looking forward to seeing you guys at the Fillmore.”  It seems like there’s nobody out here anymore to go to shows–they’ve all moved to Denver!  It’s actually not even a joke–I keep running into it every day, and conversely, you try to go play a gig here in New Jersey, and you run into five people who say “Oh, my friend just moved to Denver.”  So, there’s a reason Denver’s got such huge crowds.

You’ve got two shows coming up this weekend at The Fillmore, two more in Aspen at Belly Up, then you’ll be coming back and playing Red Rocks in September.  Which types of shows excite you the most–the outdoor Red Rocks ones, or the indoor, more intimate shows like those you’ve done at the Ogden, Fillmore, or Boulder Theater?

I don’t think it’s a matter of which is better or most exciting.  A show at a place like the Boulder Theater is different because some songs are really hard to do at a place like Red Rocks.  Some songs are better doing a huge venue like that, but sometimes a place like the Boulder Theater will pull out something that you haven’t done in a while or maybe a song with a little more complicated instrumentation.  I might end up using a pennywhistle or a bass clarinet or something I wouldn’t otherwise use–you know, I might end up doing a song with instruments that sometimes just don’t translate at a big venue.  So that’s always fun to open up a few more possibilities at smaller venues–possibilities that fans don’t get to see a lot.

Do you and the rest of the band ever have the time to get out and take part in any outdoor adventures in between shows when you come visit Colorado?

We try to do that everywhere.  Really people get out and do whatever they can.  We were in Flagstaff and we went to the Grand Canyon twice, and the same thing in Colorado; we’ve done shows in Aspen and Breckenridge and gone out hiking during the day, or some people go skiing (I’m not going to go skiing), but everyone does whatever they can before they show because it’s such a great opportunity.

In the last several years, the band members have done a lot of side projects in addition to their music with Railroad Earth.  You mentioned you played a gig yesterday, Todd has done solo shows, Andrew released a solo album in addition to having a child, etc.  What are you all working on now and do you ever feel like you’re running out of time for the side projects?

I’m doing a couple different things, and everyone is doing different stuff–it is always a challenge to juggle the schedule.  Timmy produces records, Todd has done solo shows and he’s done reunions with his old band From Good Homes, John did a solo mandolin thing a while back and he still gets together with people and does bluegrass jams when he’s home.  I’ve got a couple things going on–I’ve got a four-piece world music band called Sleeping Bee that we’ve been working hard to get out there–I released an album with that and am working on another one, and there are some youtube videos of it.  I released a zither video, that’s a German instrument, and I’ve been doing solo stuff with that.  And this gig I did yesterday, I got a call from Beppe Gambetta, who’s an Italian acoustic guitar player who tours all over the world, and I ended up coming down into New York City and sitting in with him for two days.  He’s an amazing acoustic guitar player.  But yeah, it’s a challenge just to fit it all in…but it all seems to work out.

As I’ve seen the band play over the years, it seems that at each show the band is even tighter, more cohesive, and more polished–and that at each show the band seems to have gotten better and better.  What are your thoughts on the evolution of Railroad Earth over the last 15 years?

Just trying to keep a band together is a really hard thing, and yet it’s the best way to get musical evolution and tightness.  So, the fact that you can have the same people and keep honing the songs is a real luxury.  In a lot of situations, you just can’t keep a band together or you have to get new musicians all the time, so there’s really just no substitute for having the same people and being able to work on something like that–no matter whether it is a string quartet or a bluegrass band.  I feel very lucky to be in a situation where it’s stable enough so that you can help the music like that.  Like you’re saying, you can play the same tune for years, but you come back and realize the band is doing something new and that makes it fresh for everybody.

***

RRE Winter Tour

Be sure to get your tickets to the upcoming Colorado Railroad Earth shows before they sell out, and while you’re at it, check out the recently released feature on PBS called Bluegrass Underground (a show that was done with Railroad Earth, Leftover Salmon, and Greensky Bluegrass deep in a cave in Tennessee) and the recent album that RRE recorded with Warren Haynes.  See you this weekend at Railroad Earth at the Fillmore!

The Good Life Denver is written by David Schlichter. To stay in the loop, like The Good Life Denver on Facebook and follow @thegoodlifeden on Twitter and @thegoodlifedenver on Instagram!

In addition to writing for The Good Life Denver, David works full-time as a Denver real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty Downtown, LLC. David helps his clients (ranging from sellers, to buyers, to seasoned investors) achieve their real estate goals. Contact David today for all of your Denver real estate needs. Direct: 720-440-2340

2016 Denver Residential Real Estate Update: What You Need To Know to SELL or BUY

2016 January 7
by David Schlichter
Denver Real Estate The Good LIfe Denver

A Denver loft David Schlichter sold in 2015 for a record-breaking price.

2015 was a banner year for residential real estate in Denver, and it appears that the trend of low inventory, high demand, and rising prices will continue in 2016.  Here is what you need to know if you are thinking about selling or buying Denver residential real estate in 2016!

KEY FACTS:

  • On average, all residential real estate prices in Denver County ended the year up 10.9% from the end of 2014.
  • Detached single family home prices were up 9.1% year over year, while attached single family home prices were up a whopping 16.2%.
  • In December 2015, the average detached single family home in Denver sold for $434,577, and the average attached single family home sold for $364,860.
  • Colorado’s population grew by 101,000 last year, and it is expected to grow by another 100,000 in 2016.
  • Residential rents in metro Denver rose nearly 10% in 2015 to a median of $1,952.
  • If cyclical trends continue, in 2016 (for the first time in recent history) the number of closed sales in a given month may exceed the number of active listings that month (this is possible because closed transactions generally result from prior months’ active listings).
  • In December 2015, Denver had only one month of inventory available for sale (months of inventory means how long it would take for all of the active homes to sell at the current rate if no new homes hit the market).  A seller’s market is defined as a market in which there are less than six months of inventory available, so Denver is an extreme seller’s market.
  • The number of active listings in Denver in December 2015 was at the lowest level ever in recent history for the end of year.  If cyclical trends continue, it is likely that this February and/or March there will be less homes on the market than ever in recent history.
  • In December 2015, the median Days On Market was 14, the lowest level at year end in recent history.  The DOM figure has dropped, on average, every year over the last five years, and if trends continue, we will see even shorter DOM in 2016.

2016 Real Estate Data The Good Life Denver

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SELLING A DENVER PROPERTY IN 2016:

There is no dispute that it is a phenomenal time to be a seller in Denver.  Given the market appreciation in recent years, the average seller who has owned their property for a year or more will likely walk away with (potentially significant) proceeds when selling their property in 2016.  Average sale prices are up, days on market are down, inventory is exceptionally low, and buyer demand is high.  The Denver market needs more inventory (desperately), and the odds are your home is perfect for someone out there looking for it today–literally right now.  Keep in mind if you are selling a house in Denver in 2016 that you’ll need a place to move to–just as your sale price will likely be higher than your original purchase price, your new purchase price will also likely be higher if you plan to stay in Denver.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BUYING A DENVER PROPERTY IN 2016:

Given that it’s a great time to be a seller, does that mean that it is a horrible time to be a buyer?  I believe that it is a great time to be both a buyer and a seller, but below are the glass half-full or half-empty arguments.

The “It’s a Horrible Time to be a Buyer in Denver” Argument:

  • Inventory levels are at record lows (supply).  The number of closed transactions are averaging record highs and the population is continuing to increase at the second fastest pace in the country (demand).  Exceptionally low supply and exceptionally high demand is resulting in prices rising to record highs and Days On Market dropping to record lows.  It is a very strong seller’s market–this year it was more common for a property to get multiple offers than not, and signs are pointing toward another summer of intense bidding wars.  And to top it all off, interest rates are finally going to rise this year.

The “It’s a Great Time to be a Buyer in Denver” Argument:

  • Interest rates are still near historic lows, though they are expected to rise in small increments this year.  Even with slowly rising rates, loans are still incredibly cheap at around 4-4.5% for a 30-year fixed rate loan–just ask someone who bought a house in the early 1980’s, when interest rates neared an average of 18%!  Yes, prices are rising, but they’ve been rising for years, and they are expected to continue to do so.  If homes appreciate at the same rate this year as they did last year and you put 20% down, the return on your investment (since your investment would be levered) would be approximately 54.5%.  What other market or product is offering that type of return in today’s world?  And, what is the next best alternative for your living situation?  With median rents at $1,952, renting is more expensive than ever.  In a city experiencing double-digit percent appreciation on average, Denver is booming, and I don’t foresee people stopping moving here any time soon–so get in while you can, odds are prices (and interest rates) will continue to rise!

SUMMARY:

All signs suggest that 2016 is going to be another banner year for Denver residential real estate.  Sellers will likely enjoy favorable price appreciation, low days on market, and multiple offers–particularly when working with a highly competent and strategic agent.  Buyers will still benefit from historically low interest rates and likely above-average appreciation for when their purchase is complete, though the purchase process itself may be stressful and could involve multiple offer situations.  While I do believe Denver home prices will continue to rise at a rapid rate in 2016, I believe the rate of appreciation will be somewhat slower than it was last year.  And, of course, even though it is unlikely, something calamitous could happen to Denver or to the economy that could cause prices to stagnate or even drop.

If you are considering selling or buying Denver real estate in 2016, it is important to work with someone who is intimately familiar with the market, highly intelligent and strategic, an exceptional negotiator, and communicates proactively and effectively.  Contact me today to discuss how I can help you achieve your Denver real estate goals.

The Good Life Denver is written by David Schlichter. To stay in the loop, like The Good Life Denver on Facebook and follow @thegoodlifeden on Twitter and @thegoodlifedenver on Instagram!

In addition to writing for The Good Life Denver, David works full-time as a Denver real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty Downtown, LLC. David helps his clients (ranging from sellers, to buyers, to seasoned investors) achieve their real estate goals. Contact David today for all of your Denver real estate needs. Direct: 720-440-2340

Acorn is Consistently Outstanding

2015 December 5
by David Schlichter
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The potato gnocchi from Acorn

Acorn has been flooded with positive press since it opened in 2013.  This year, it was named the best restaurant in Denver by 5280 Magazine (up from #2 last year).  With all of the Good press, does the restaurant live up to its hype? 

Yes.

Acorn is one of the two restaurants housed within The Source in RiNo.  It serves small plates that are meant to be shared with two to three plates recommended per person.  We tried out ten different dishes on our recent visit.  It is exceptionally rare to be able to go to a restaurant, order ten dishes, and not have a few misses–or at least one or two that were “so-so.”  Acorn, however, delivered beautiful and delicious dishes–one after another, all of them consistently outstanding.

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The meatballs from Acorn

At Acorn, you order the dishes you want, and the server courses them out for you.  The meal builds upon itself as each new course brings a unique flavor profile and wets your appetite for more food.  Our meal started with the crispy fried pickles, then moved on to the kale & apple salad, crispy cauliflower, house-made potato gnocchi, matsutake mushrooms, Florida deep water shrimp and grits, tomato braised meatballs, oak smoked short ribs, oak smoked bone marrow, and finished with the Nantucket Bay scallop spaghetti.

After eating ten outstanding dishes, it can be hard to pick favorites.  The gnocchi was light as a cloud and perfectly cooked.  The tomato braised meatballs, served with grits, burrata, and basil, were awesome and filling–while not being overly dense.  And the kale and apple salad was a favorite of everyone at the table–definitely a must-order.  With so many Good options, you can’t go wrong at Acorn–you will love whatever you order.

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The oak smoked bone marrow from Acorn

Acorn is the sister restaurant of Oak at Fourteenth in Boulder.  While being associated with that restaurant certainly gave Acorn some initial street credibility, Acorn has definitely earned, on its own, the excellent reputation it has made for itself here in Denver.  And the restaurant’s success has not only been a critical ingredient for the success of The Source, but it has also helped The Source serve as an anchor for the explosion of development in RiNo.  New restaurants, breweries, art galleries, and shops, are taking the place of vacant lots and abandoned warehouses, and that is because concepts like Acorn and The Source proved that people don’t mind (and may prefer) a slightly grittier part of town with cutting edge food, drinks, and shops.

I can’t wait to see what the area looks like in 5 years, and I can’t wait to return to Acorn (which I am doing next week) for another delicious meal!

Acorn is located in The Source at 3350 Brighton Blvd.  Interested in living near Acorn and The Source?  Click here to search nearby homes for sale!

Acorn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Good Life Denver is written by David Schlichter. To stay in the loop, like The Good Life Denver on Facebook and follow @thegoodlifeden on Twitter and @thegoodlifedenver on Instagram!

In addition to writing for The Good Life Denver, David works full-time as a Denver real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty Downtown, LLC. David helps his clients (ranging from first-time home buyers, to sellers, to seasoned investors) achieve their real estate goals. Contact David today for all of your Denver real estate needs. Direct: 720-440-2340

Gozo on S. Broadway is Delicious

2015 November 19
by David Schlichter
Gozo1TheGoodLifeDenver

Roasted salmon from Gozo

It used to be that I would mostly avoid eating on Broadway and S. Broadway because the street was so busy.  The street is still busy, but with so many Good dining options opening there recently, it has become an impossible stretch of restaurants to ignore–and it actually has become one of my favorite dining destinations in the city.

Gozo is one of the newest restaurants to arrive on the scene.  Billed as “Italian and Spanish Mediterranean food with a Californian twist,” the restaurant offers tasty, well-crafted, healthy and beautiful dishes in a lively, bright, and open space.

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Buratta from Gozo

The menu at Gozo is fantastic.  Starters include options like the tasty buratta, meatballs, grilled artichoke, grilled octopus, and wood oven-cooked clams.  The pasta and risotto section features spaghetti with wild rabbit ragu, a rigatoni with pork bolognese, orcchiette with summer squash/zucchini/mint/browned butter, and a risotto of the day.  The wood-fired pizzas cooked at 850 degrees are delicious, but I must say that, while the whole menu is Good, my favorite dishes come from the grande section of the menu.

I generally don’t seek out fish on dinner menus, but the pan roasted Colorado bass with crispy skin, smoked farro salad, and chili oil is phenomenal.  The fish is perfectly cooked, and I was thrilled with the farro salad with chili oil.  The three day smoked short rib with summer squash and tomato risotto is delicious and hearty.  And the roasted salmon with heirloom beans, kale, baby carrots, and carrot-greens pesto is as tasty as it is beautiful.

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Pan roasted Colorado bass from Gozo

The happy hour menu, offered from 3-6pm, is also awesome.  The small bites such as the buratta, Brussels sprouts salad, truffle fries are fantastic; the wood-fired pizzas are Good and offered at discounted prices; snack sized sandwiches are offered at $4 apiece, and drinks are $3 off.  And the brunch menu, which I have yet to try in person, looks excellent with items such as a bacon and egg pizza, a short rib hash, and a Spanish torta.

I highly recommend you pay Gozo a visit before it starts to get hard to get a table there!  Gozo is located at 30 S. Broadway Denver, CO 80209.

Interested in purchasing a home near Gozo?  Click here to search nearby homes for sale.

Gozo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Good Life Denver is written by David Schlichter. To stay in the loop, like The Good Life Denver on Facebook and follow @thegoodlifeden on Twitter and @thegoodlifedenver on Instagram!

In addition to writing for The Good Life Denver, David works full-time as a Denver real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty Downtown, LLC. David helps his clients (ranging from first-time home buyers, to sellers, to seasoned investors) achieve their real estate goals. Contact David today for all of your Denver real estate needs. Direct: 720-440-2340

Good Food Hall: Avanti Food and Beverage

2015 November 9
by David Schlichter

Avanti

Denver is one of the fastest growing cities in the country, and along with that population growth has come a dramatic explosion of our dining scene.  Many great new restaurants open every month, and while some American cities have long histories of Italian, German, and other ethnic influences on their cuisine, Denver, as a younger, non-coastal city full of transplants, is more of a blank canvas–perfect for culinary innovation.

Avanti Food and Beverage is an exciting new contemporary food hall in Denver featuring seven different restaurant concepts housed within one common space.  Inspired by European food halls and the emerging popularity of American food trucks, Avanti opened in early 2015 and offers a space for new chefs and restaurateurs to try out innovative new restaurant concepts on short 1-2 year leases.  By providing an appealing physical space and a strong customer base for these new concepts to be tested, chefs and restaurateurs can be more cutting edge; instead of allocating resources to all of the “non-food” aspects of starting a restaurant, they can focus on the food.

The decor at Avanti is contemporary and appealing, with each restaurant concept housed within a modified shipping container (shipping container architecture is a trend that is taking off in Denver and around the country).  Patrons can come as a group and eat from different restaurants while sitting together–inside at a booth or table, outside on the rooftop at communal benches, or in the rooftop amphitheater-style seating with great views of the Denver skyline.  Someone is craving pizza?  They can get it from Brava Pizzeria della Strada.  Someone needs gluten-free?  They can choose Quiero Arepas.  Someone wants local and sustainable?  They can try out Farmer Girl.

Food halls are an emerging trend across America, and Denver is a perfect city to capitalize on that trend.  The Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (who is the former Denver Mayor and a former brewpub owner) has used as a defining principle throughout his career and life in public office the idea that “there is no margin in making enemies.”  Avanti is a microcosm for what I call collaborative competition, and this collaborative competition can be seen in other aspects of the Colorado economy.

Colorado has the third most microbreweries per capita of any state in the country.  These microbreweries, while in competition with each other, are also creating a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.  Every year, microbreweries assemble here in Denver for the Great American Beer Festival, the largest of its kind in the country.  Throughout the year, the microbreweries collaborate with local food trucks, which take turns rotating through the microbreweries to provide patrons with food they wouldn’t otherwise be able to get on site.  The microbreweries, in turn, provide the food trucks with a steady supply of (hungry) patrons.  The food trucks also collaborate with each other by rallying together in the summer for Civic Center Eats, a biweekly assembly of food trucks in the heart of downtown.

Concepts like Avanti that encourage culinary innovation and embrace collaborative competition are destined for success in cities like Denver, and I predict more food halls like it will pop up in the coming years both in Denver and in other American cities with significant population growth and cutting edge dining scenes.

Avanti is located in LoHi at 3200 Pecos St.  Interested in living near Avanti?  Click here to search nearby homes for sale.  (Photo courtesy of Avanti and used with permission.)

The Good Life Denver is written by David Schlichter. To stay in the loop, like The Good Life Denver on Facebook and follow @thegoodlifeden on Twitter and @thegoodlifedenver on Instagram!

In addition to writing for The Good Life Denver, David works full-time as a Denver real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty Downtown, LLC. David helps his clients (ranging from first-time home buyers, to sellers, to seasoned investors) achieve their real estate goals. Contact David today for all of your Denver real estate needs. Direct: 720-440-2340

What to do on a Cold or Rainy Day in Denver

2015 November 5
by David Schlichter

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Denver is known as one of the best cities in the country to work hard and play hard–with most of the “play hard” activities taking place outside.  But when it is a cold or rainy day, sometimes the Denver activity options seem a bit less abundant.

Thankfully, just in time for winter, 5280 Magazine’s latest cover story features 75 things to do in the Mile High City inside on cold and wet days.  From climbing an indoor rock wall at Movement Climbing & Fitness, to touring a Good local distillery (which I’ve featured on this site here), building a banjo (in Boulder), playing trivia (all over town), taking a music lesson, and more, author Lindsey Koehler included a little something for everyone.

I plan to pull out this article for some Good ideas the next time I’m getting stir crazy on a cold and wet Denver day, and I think you’ll enjoy it too!  Click here for the full article.

The Good Life Denver is written by David Schlichter. To stay in the loop, like The Good Life Denver on Facebook and follow @thegoodlifeden on Twitter and @thegoodlifedenver on Instagram.

In addition to writing for The Good Life Denver, David works full-time as a Denver real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty Downtown, LLC. David helps his clients (ranging from first-time home buyers, to sellers, to seasoned investors) achieve their real estate goals. Contact David today for all of your Denver real estate needs. Direct: 7/440-2340

Good Sausages, Beer, and Fries: Wurstküche

2015 October 30
by David Schlichter

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Denver has been developing a reputation for being one of the best beer cities in the country, and the beer scene keeps getting better and better.  Wurstküche, which opened early this year, is helping contribute to the scene–in a somewhat different way.  There are lots of craft breweries around town, and lots of Good restaurants, but what about a contemporary beer hall featuring Belgian and German beers that also serves Good food?  Wurstküche offers just that.

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Wurstküche may be a mouthful to pronounce (its name in German translates to sausage kitchen), but once you’re there your mouth will be full of Good sausages, beer, and fries.  Unlike a traditional German beer hall which may serve a few beers and a few different wursts (sausages), Wurstküche serves nearly twenty different types of sausages, including “classics” such as bratwurst and bockwurst, “gourmets” such as mango jalapeno and Austin Blues (hot and spicy, tri-pepper & hardwood smoked pork), and “exotics” such as rattlesnake and rabbit with jalapeno peppers, duck and bacon with jalapeno peppers, and pheasant with herbs de Provence.  It also serves delicious Belgian style French fries, which come with a choice of ten different dipping sauces (having tried them all, my favorites are the Sweet and Sassy BBQ, the Chipotle Aioli, and Pesto Mayo).

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The bar offers about 25 beers on tap, almost all of which are German and Belgian beers.  Beers are served in their “correct” glasses, and patrons can also sample many different beers by ordering flights of four beers in four ounce pours.  Though Wurstküche doesn’t currently serve Colorado microbrews on a regular basis (Prost seems like an obviously Good fit), they have partnered with local microbreweries for various events.  On November 14th from 10:30am-1:30pm, for example, Wurstküche and Ratio Beerworks are will offer a coffee beer and breakfast sausage pairing.  Patrons will have a choice between a chicken apple sausage with scrambled eggs, white cheddar, and jalapenos on top, or a bed of fries topped with special sauce, chipotle Mexican veggie sausage crumble, and a fried egg.

Wutstkuche

Wurstküche offers a unique addition to the Denver beer and dining scene, and I definitely plan to return soon for more Good beers, sausages, and fries!

Wurstküche is located at 2036 Broadway (at Broadway and Stout).  Interested in living near Wurstküche?  Click here to search nearby homes for sale.

Wurstküche Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Good Life Denver is written by David Schlichter. To stay in the loop, like The Good Life Denver on Facebook and follow @thegoodlifeden on Twitter and @thegoodlifedenver on Instagram!

In addition to writing for The Good Life Denver, David works full-time as a Denver real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty Downtown, LLC. David helps his clients (ranging from first-time home buyers, to sellers, to seasoned investors) achieve their real estate goals. Contact David today for all of your Denver real estate needs. Direct: 720-440-2340

Good Denver Pizza: Blue Pan Pizza

2015 October 18
by David Schlichter
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The New York style pizza from Blue Pan Pizza

Denver isn’t exactly known for being a great pizza city, but every year the options have gotten better and better.  Now we have some great pizza restaurants across the city, and Blue Pan Pizza, which opened in the Highlands this summer, has certainly been a Good addition to the scene.

Blue Pan is known for it’s “Detroit style” pizza, which is baked in rectangular blue steel pans and ends up with a caramelized crust using a unique blend of brick, white cheddar, and whole milk mozzarella cheeses.  But Blue Pan doesn’t just offer Detroit style pizza; it also serves New York style, classic Italian, Chicago cracker thin, and gluten-free pizza.

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The Detroit style pizza from Blue Pan Pizza

This week we dropped by and ordered a “Brooklyn Bridge” Detroit style pizza and a massive 22-inch New York style pizza with custom toppings.  Surprisingly, while Blue Pan is known for its Detroit style pizza, the New York style pizza was phenomenal.  The crust was a perfect balance of crispiness on the outside and softness on the inside, the cheese was delicious, and the slices were enormous.

Check out Blue Pan Pizza sometime soon, but be sure to get there early–the seating is very limited!  Though you may want to try the Detroit style pizza (because where else will you get it?), I highly recommend the New York style–it was among the best I’ve had in Denver.  The entire pizza menu is below.

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Blue Pan Pizza is located in the Highlands at 3930 West 32nd Avenue, Denver, CO 80212.  Interested in living nearby Blue Pan Pizza?  Click here to search nearby homes for sale.

Blue Pan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Good Life Denver is written by David Schlichter. To stay in the loop, like The Good Life Denver on Facebook and follow @thegoodlifeden on Twitter and @thegoodlifedenver on Instagram.

In addition to writing for The Good Life Denver, David works full-time as a Denver real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty Downtown, LLC. David helps his clients (ranging from first-time home buyers, to sellers, to seasoned investors) achieve their real estate goals. Contact David today for all of your Denver real estate needs. Direct: 7/440-2340

Grand Opening: The Gallery at Cherry Creek

2015 October 15
by David Schlichter

RH Opening

The Gallery at Cherry Creek, featuring a massive expansion of Restoration Hardware at the Cherry Creek mall, celebrated its grand opening last night in high style.

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More than three thousand people enjoyed cocktails, wine, food, and music in the newly expanded store, which features four floors of furniture and fixtures in a spacious and luxurious design layout.  Each floor has different themes, including RH Modern, RH Contemporary Art, RH Design Ateleier, RH Baby & Child, RH Teen, and a rooftop park and conservatory.  The spaces are beautiful, and not only is it a great place to shop for your home, but it was an awesome space for an event!

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Centennial’s Epicurean Group catered the event with delicious bites and Napa Valley’s Ma(i)sonry brought the curated wines.  Thievery Corporation performed, and the event benefited Children’s Hospital Colorado and the Denver Art Museum.

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“Anchoring a new luxury wing of Cherry Creek, RH Denver is a first-of-its-kind retail concept that blurs the lines between residential and retail, indoors and outdoors, physical and digital…Conceptualized as a grand-scale, multi-level classical contemporary building filled with fresh air and natural light to reflect Colorado’s outdoor lifestyle, RH Denver spans 70,000 total square feet across four levels and features decomposed granite courtyards with trickling fountains, Juliet balconies, an expansive garden terrace, a grand double staircase with massive skylight soaring 70 feet overhead, and a Rooftop Park & Conservatory with a grove of Quaking Aspens and views of the Rocky Mountains.”

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A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held on Friday October 16th at 11:00am, and the doors officially open at 11:30.  Congratulations to Restoration Hardware and the Cherry Creek Mall on completing the expansion and for hosting such a Good event!

The Good Life Denver is written by David Schlichter. To stay in the loop, like The Good Life Denver on Facebook and follow @thegoodlifeden on Twitter and @thegoodlifedenver on Instagram.

In addition to writing for The Good Life Denver, David works full-time as a Denver real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty Downtown, LLC. David helps his clients (ranging from first-time home buyers, to sellers, to seasoned investors) achieve their real estate goals. Contact David today for all of your Denver real estate needs. Direct: 7/440-2340

Peak Colorado Fall Colors: Happening NOW!

2015 October 1
by David Schlichter
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Aspens changing in Vail, Colorado.

Now is the time to drop everything and head up to the mountains to witness one of Colorado greatest spectacles: the changing of the aspens.

The fall colors are out in all their splendor all over our great state–particularly so in the central mountain corridor.  We just spent an amazing few days in Vail taking in the Good views and eating Good meals (right now is Vail and Beaver Creek’s Restaurant Week).

The author hiking with his wife and newborn baby (who, sadly, slept through most of his first fall colors experience).

The author hiking at Vail with his newborn baby (who, sadly, slept through most of his first changing of the aspens).

It is a fantastic time to be in the mountains.  Not yet winter but past the peak of summer; Vail was super quiet, the trails were almost totally empty, the views were phenomenal, and the meals were delicious.

Whether you’re camping, hiking, driving, or biking, there may not be a more beautiful time of year to go out and have an adventure in Colorado!

The Good Life Denver is written by David Schlichter. To stay in the loop, like The Good Life Denver on Facebook and follow @thegoodlifeden on Twitter and @thegoodlifedenver on Instagram.

In addition to writing for The Good Life Denver, David works full-time as a Denver real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty Downtown, LLC. David helps his clients (ranging from first-time home buyers, to sellers, to seasoned investors) achieve their real estate goals. Contact David today for all of your Denver real estate needs. Direct: 7/440-2340

Good Denver Latin American Food: Leña

2015 August 13
by David Schlichter
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Grilled octopus (Pulpo a la Brasa de Roble) from Leña

The dining scene in Denver only continues to get hotter, and the newer restaurants on Broadway and South Broadway certainly are helping in that regard.  One of my favorite meals I’ve had this year was at Leña, a restaurant that opened late last year on Broadway featuring delicious Latin American food in a lively setting. 

The menu at Leña is fantastic, with a great array of cold, hot, and grilled dishes from a wood-fired white oak grill (the restaurant’s specialty).  We loved the tacos, the chilaquiles, and the empanadas–but the empanadas were beyond Good, they were phenomenal.  But whether you’re in the mood for ceviche, empanadas, tacos, or grilled meats, you won’t go wrong at Leña.  It is all Good!

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A pork and chicken empanada (Empanadas Crujiente con Cerdo y Pollo) from Leña

In addition to Leña’s food menu being extensive, the tequila and mezcal menu is quite lengthy as well.  The restaurant offers over 50 tequilas and nearly 20 mezcals, and its cocktail menu is right up my alley with several different types of margaritas, two sangrias, a caiparinha, mojito, michelada, and more.

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It isn’t often that I eat at a restaurant and immediately want to go back within days to keep trying more and more of the menu.  Leña is one of those spots, and I can’t wait to get back!

Leña is located at 24 Broadway St.

Click to add a blog post for Leña on Zomato

The Good Life Denver is written by David Schlichter. To stay in the loop, like The Good Life Denver on Facebook and follow @thegoodlifeden on Twitter and @thegoodlifedenver on Instagram.

In addition to writing for The Good Life Denver, David works full-time as a Denver real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty Downtown, LLC. David helps his clients (ranging from first-time home buyers, to sellers, to seasoned investors) achieve their real estate goals. Contact David today for all of your Denver real estate needs. Direct: 7/440-2340

Denver’s Beer Scene is (Quietly) Exploding

2015 July 16
by David Schlichter
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A flight of beers at LowDown Brewery and Kitchen in Denver

While Denver has gotten lots of publicity for medicinal and recreational marijuana boom in recent years, there hasn’t been as much publicity for another dramatic boom that this city that has been experiencing: the boom of craft brewing.

Denver has been known as a great craft beer town for quite some time, but the recent stats are amazing. When I wrote this article at the end of 2011, the number of breweries in Colorado was 124. At that time, Denver seemed like the dream city for beer aficionados, but since then things have gotten even better. As of the end of 2014, there were 235 breweries in the state, and of those, a whopping 76 were in Denver County alone, with another 83 or so in the surrounding Denver metro area (not including Boulder). Are we in beer heaven yet?

Many of our microbreweries are housed in the heart of downtown Denver, with 11 in RiNo alone. In fact, with many of the newest microbreweries popping up in RiNo in the last year, RiNo now may actually offer the densest concentration of distinct microbreweries of any place in the world.  See below for a map of Denver area breweries from Fermentedly Challenged, a great Colorado beer blog run by Dave Butler out of Greeley.

All of this craft beer production is Good news for beer drinkers, but it is also Good news for our economy. Breweries create jobs on the production side, but they also participate in a highly complimentary economy. Craft beer tour companies are popping up, tourists come to Denver specifically for the beer scene, food trucks partner with them and get a stable customer base, and there couldn’t be a better place to host the Great American Beer Festival, which hosts nearly 50,000 people in Denver each year who then participate in other aspects of our local economy.

Craft Beer Sales 2014

As of the time of my 2011 article, craft beer had a 4.9% share of the domestic beer market, according to the Brewers Association. That figure is now 11%.  Americans have demonstrated a growing desire to consume craft beer, and Denver continues to be ideally positioned to capture that demand. Do I think that all of the new breweries in Denver will survive the competition? No. Will there be even more breweries that place test their fate in the Denver market, though? Absolutely.

In today’s economy, cities tend to struggle to differentiate themselves. Colorado, and Denver in particular, certainly differentiated themselves with the legalization of retail marijuana.  But with all of the media frenzy surrounding that decision in recent years, the Denver craft brewing scene hasn’t gotten the attention it otherwise would have when exploding and quickly turning Denver into one of the best beer cities in the world (no big deal).

So, let’s continue supporting and celebrating the amazing craft brewing scene here in Denver, systematically marketing it as an attraction to the rest of the country (and the world)…and, of course, enjoying some Good Denver beer!

The Good Life Denver is written by David Schlichter. To stay in the loop, like The Good Life Denver on Facebook and follow @thegoodlifeden on Twitter and @thegoodlifedenver on Instagram!

In addition to writing for The Good Life Denver, David works full-time as a Denver real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty Downtown, LLC. David helps his clients (ranging from first-time home buyers, to sellers, to seasoned investors) achieve their real estate goals. Contact David today for all of your Denver real estate needs. Direct: 720-440-2340