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Professional Diners Discuss the Biggest Surprises of 2017

Some pleasant, others unfortunate

The kitchen fire at Tavernetta was one of the biggest dining-world surprises of the year
Adam Larkey

As is the tradition, Eater asked a group of journalists, bloggers, and friends of the site to weigh in on the year in food. Here, they share the most unexpected developments of 2017.

Linnea Covington, freelance writer, Westword

All the sushi places that keep popping up. I mean, sushi is so good, but I never thought Denver would have such a plethora of options, and good ones to boot.

Gigi Sukin, editor, CoBiz

I shouldn’t have been surprised but was overwhelmed, utterly delighted, and proud of the Sushi Den team for their presentation of the omakase dinner. I walked away truly in awe of the beauty and care that went into each course.

Alexandra Palmerton, food and booze editor, 303

Stapleton — that neighborhood went 100 mph this year. I can't believe how much it's changed in the last 12 months.

Andra Zeppelin, former editor, Eater Denver

Top Chef finally choosing Colorado for its newest season

Brittany Werges, managing editor, 303

The entire experience of El Cellar de Can Roca (aka one of the best restaurants in the world) was surprising in every way. The fact they chose Denver for their only U.S. pop-up was definitely a huge moment, but I was let down by the food. That’s not to say it wasn’t a beautiful experience in many other ways, but there wasn’t one dish I left dreaming about.

Ruth Tobias, writer, Zagat Denver

Not a surprise so much as a welcome trend — the plethora of super-cool, expectation-surpassing hot spots from first-time women owners like Annette, Bar Helix, and The Bindery. (And Cattivella, though most of us already knew what to expect from Elise Wiggins.)

Laura Shunk, freelance writer, Westword

The tiny pumpkin filled with fondue cheese at Family Jones was a real surprise the first time I ate it. Continues to be a delight. Also, it took me way, way too long to get to Rebel. So I suppose just how good that place really is was a surprise.

Denise Mickelsen, food editor, 5280

A very sad surprise: The fire at Tavernetta just eight days after its grand opening.

Rebecca Treon, freelance writer, Denver Post

Andra Zeppelin leaving Eater, Tavernetta burning and making a speedy comeback, Ink (Coffee)’s ignorant snafu


1889 16th Street Mall, , CO 80202 (720) 605-1889 Visit Website

Sushi Den

1487 South Pearl Street, , CO 80210 (303) 777-0826 Visit Website

Rebel Restaurant

3763 Wynkoop Street, , CO 80216 (303) 297-3902 Visit Website


2501 Dallas Street, , CO 80010 (720) 710-9975 Visit Website

bar helix

3440 Larimer Street, , CO 80205 (720) 449-8587 Visit Website


80238 East 29th Drive, , CO 80238 (303) 645-3779 Visit Website

The Bindery

1817 Central Street, , CO 80211 (303) 993-2364 Visit Website