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Down in the
The Denver Tech Center is now a Mile High hangout
By Monica Parpal Stockbridge
M

y first “real” job was in the Denver Tech Center. I worked for a startup in one of three bland office buildings in the heart of the city’s technology hub. At the time, I was thrilled. Never mind the dearth of cool restaurants or bars. I was making my way in the working world! My father worked for a large corporation headquartered in the Tech Center, just on the other side of the highway. My uncle worked for an e-commerce giant a few buildings over. Today, my husband still commutes to his office in the DTC. 

This synthesis of startup ventures and colossal corporations seemed to define this pocket of Southeast Denver for years. Designed in the ‘70s, the Denver Tech Center has grown from 40 acres to more than 800 acres. Companies like Great-West Life, Arrow Electronics, Comcast and Zoom Video Communications now call the DTC home. And while for the longest time it seemed that all the trendy new restaurants and homegrown hangouts were in LoDo or RiNo, that mindset is changing. 

These days, the DTC has earned a stake in the mile high social scene. The area is busier than ever, with local residents and even curious city dwellers coming in for a comedy show, sushi dinner or craft night. There are independent restaurants, award-winning shops and salons, and one of the city’s best concert venues.

In truth, it’s a momentum that has been building for years. Perhaps the DTC was previously overshadowed by Denver’s constant bustle. And, sure, the Tech Center’s reputation as a technology and trade hub wasn’t always synonymous with good food and hospitality. But the DTC has quietly carved out a name for itself. To me, it feels both nostalgic and exciting. I can’t wait to see how it continues to evolve.

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explore
shutterstock.com
Down in the
The Denver Tech Center is now a Mile High hangout
By Monica Parpal Stockbridge
M

y first “real” job was in the Denver Tech Center. I worked for a startup in one of three bland office buildings in the heart of the city’s technology hub. At the time, I was thrilled. Never mind the dearth of cool restaurants or bars. I was making my way in the working world! My father worked for a large corporation headquartered in the Tech Center, just on the other side of the highway. My uncle worked for an e-commerce giant a few buildings over. Today, my husband still commutes to his office in the DTC. 

This synthesis of startup ventures and colossal corporations seemed to define this pocket of Southeast Denver for years. Designed in the ‘70s, the Denver Tech Center has grown from 40 acres to more than 800 acres. Companies like Great-West Life, Arrow Electronics, Comcast and Zoom Video Communications now call the DTC home. And while for the longest time it seemed that all the trendy new restaurants and homegrown hangouts were in LoDo or RiNo, that mindset is changing. 

These days, the DTC has earned a stake in the mile high social scene. The area is busier than ever, with local residents and even curious city dwellers coming in for a comedy show, sushi dinner or craft night. There are independent restaurants, award-winning shops and salons, and one of the city’s best concert venues.

In truth, it’s a momentum that has been building for years. Perhaps the DTC was previously overshadowed by Denver’s constant bustle. And, sure, the Tech Center’s reputation as a technology and trade hub wasn’t always synonymous with good food and hospitality. But the DTC has quietly carved out a name for itself. To me, it feels both nostalgic and exciting. I can’t wait to see how it continues to evolve.

Presidential Parlor Dining
Where to Stay
There’s no shortage of hotels in the area. A cluster of options at the junction of I-25 and I-225 include a Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn, Denver Marriott Tech Center and the Hyatt Regency DTC, all within easy access of Denver International Airport and the light rail at Belleview Station, and close to several locally owned restaurants, bars and entertainment venues.

Of note is the Hyatt Regency DTC, which in 2019 completed a multi-million dollar renovation on its guestrooms, lobby and public spaces. All 451 guestrooms are designed for both working professionals and leisure travelers. Business travelers can upgrade to enjoy perks like complimentary breakfast, newspaper, and a freshly pressed shirt each day. With two Presidential Suites, two VIP Suites, five Studio Suites and three Hospitality Suites, guests can find ideal spaces for small meetings and dinner parties. 

The hotel features 30,000 square feet of renovated meeting space, including the grand glass atrium, ballrooms and boardrooms, flexible conference rooms and the Highlands Amphitheater, complete with high-tech audiovisual equipment and Wi-Fi. In 2018, the hotel also redesigned its signature meeting space, the 12th floor Centennial Ballroom, with views of downtown Denver and mountains in the distance.

The space is one of a kind, says Soham Bhattacharyya, general manager. “The city’s light rail is conveniently located right behind the hotel, making a commute to downtown and the nearby suburbs very easy for both our leisure and business travelers. We have seen an increasing number of families choosing to stay in the Denver Tech Center area while they visit great skiing destinations like Keystone, Beaver Creek, Vail and Breckenridge because of its convenient proximity from the hotel.” Bhattacharyya notes that many prefer to stay away from the bustling traffic of downtown Denver.

Perhaps the most pleasantly surprising features are the updated onsite dining areas, including Root25 Taphouse & Kitchen. With an emphasis on seasonal ingredients, Root25 is a contemporary space with an inviting atmosphere and lively bar highlighting Colorado beers and spirits. A new dinner menu launches this month. In the morning and afternoon, guests can grab Starbucks coffee, breakfast sandwiches, and chef-prepared salads from the Perks Coffee & Go in the lobby. 

“Over the years, the Denver Tech Center area has seen a significant boom in dining options,” Bhattacharyya says, and many are within one or two miles of the hotel.

courtesy of Sushi-Rama
Where to Eat
What used to be a land of primarily chain restaurants has begun to transform into a mini-Denver dining destination for local eats. Snooze, an A.M. Eatery is one independent restaurant that has taken up residency in the Tech Center.

“We saw it as an opportunity to bring our breakfast experience to a part of town we felt needed this energy,” says CMO Andrew Jaffe regarding the decision to open a location in the DTC. The breakfast icon serves breakfast, brunch, and lunch from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. “We are thrilled to be a part of this neighborhood, serving creative spins on classic brunch options for professionals in the area, as well as families right outside of DTC,” Jaffe says. 

The plant-based Makin’ it Grain Bowl has been a popular item, which includes farro and black rice topped with cage-free eggs, avocado, watermelon radishes, and black sesame seeds.

Sushi-Rama
courtesy of Sushi-Rama
Kuku Paka
Copyright – 2017 Cyrus McCrimmon for AMBLI
Another relative newcomer to the area is Sushi-Rama, a whimsical fast-casual sushi destination where diners choose their dishes from the signature conveyor belt, which brings fresh rolls straight from the kitchen. “I think the dining scene down here has grown (up) quite quickly,” says Chef/Owner Jeff Osaka. For business guests with limited time to sit and dine, the restaurant’s Rama boxes are popular takeaway options.

Osaka also calls attention to other Denver restaurants that have chosen to make their “second home” in the DTC; restaurants like Los Chingones, offering guests elevated tacos and a hip atmosphere, and Tap and Burger DTC, a modern sports bar with plenty of TVs and craft beer. Also nearby, Ambli Global serves an eclectic menu of shareable global cuisine in a warm, hospitable setting.

Entertainment in the DTC
See a show
There are several tried-and-true entertainment opportunities in the DTC area, and the best-known is Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater. The 17,000-seat amphitheater was originally commissioned over 35 years ago as a large-scale sculptural venue designed to host community festivals and symphonies. Today, musicians like Foo Fighters and Mumford and Sons bring throngs of people to sold-out shows.
Laugh out loud
Another local entertainment venue, Comedy Works, first opened on Larimer Square and opened a second Comedy Works South at the Landmark in 2008. Comedy Works draws hardy crowds for evening comedy, featuring both national talent as well as local up-and-comers.
Make a craft
Bring a date or a group of friends to Upstairs Circus DTC for a DIY craft night. Each guest gets to choose from the many guided projects available, from leather-working to wall art. Enjoy cocktails or craft beer and wine while you create. Reserve your spot during happy hour (Tuesday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.) for discounts on both drinks and projects.
“We started the Ambli concept six years ago in a strip mall east of Cherry Creek,” says co-owner Kelly Morrison. She and co-owner Pariza Mehta opened Ambli Global at Belleview Station in Oct 2017. “We are owned and operated by two females and a very talented chef who brings heart and soul every day. We feel Ambli brings a warmth that is unlike any other restaurant in Denver.” One of Ambli’s signature dishes is Kuku Paka, a coconut curry chicken dish currently available only at the Belleview Station location.

For a slightly more upscale dining opportunity — think business lunches and client dinners — Ocean Prime and Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse fit the bill. Another newcomer to the fine-dining scene is Le French, owned and operated by two French-born sisters and longtime Denver residents who wanted to bring a taste of Paris to metro Denver.

When you’re looking to bring a bottle of something to your hotel room or pack a liquid souvenir for your trip to the mountains, head over to the recently opened Molly’s Spirits in Greenwood Village. While the original Molly’s still resides on the north side of Denver, this second location brings its signature selection to the south side of DTC on Arapahoe Road, with an emphasis on Colorado spirits, wine and beer. 

“The DTC is a very affluent area of Colorado that also has a high concentration of office-based businesses,” says Molly’s Spirits CEO, Rufus Nagel, who plans to serve a higher-end wine selection in the new DTC location.

“We want to create a hands-on experience to help shoppers find their next favorite drink,” he says. Molly’s will host unique tastings, special events, and release parties with beverage purveyors from Colorado and around the world.