Denver Central Market offers a large selection in the heart of River North
Food courts, food trucks and specialty markets abound in Denver. Now, however, there is a place that combines the feel of an open market with the comfort of an up-scale food court.
Located at 2669 Larimer Street in the River North (RiNo) neighborhood, the Denver Central Market combines 11 businesses offering food and beverages ready for consumption in a 13,132 square foot hall. The complex also houses grocers selling fresh bread, local produce and – of all things – octopus flown in from Japan. The entire marketplace is alive from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., though some stations open earlier for breakfast and the Curio Bar keeps its doors open until 10 p.m. (midnight on the weekend).
Culture Meat & Cheese
One of the primary features of the market is Culture Meat & Cheese, a creation of chef and restaurateur Justin Brunson, who is also the creative mind behind Old Major and Masterpiece Deli. The station brings an education-focused approach in presenting artisan cheese and cured meat from around the world. The space features a full service cheese bar with a glass counter-top case displaying the day’s selection of meat and cheese from custom built boards. Also featured on the menu are meat cones (paper cups filled with shaved, cured meat), sandwiches wrapped to go and a vast selection of ready-made meat and cheese.
Casual over finer dining
Denver Central Market is the brainchild of building owner Ken Wolf and restaurateur Jeff Osaka who worked together to seek out the 11 businesses that round out the market.
“It’s regularly packed,” said Jeff Atencio, 44, Denver who says the RiNo neighborhood has become one of his favorite Denver getaways. “The food is exquisite. It’s rare to find a place that packs so much talent into one market, but they have found a place for them.”
The market excels in creating a space for all types of visitors, something that, according to Michele Dixon, isn’t always felt in all Denver neighborhoods.
“It’s easy to feel out of place in LoDo, if you don’t dress a certain way and a lot of fine-dining establishments in and around the city don’t do a great job of making you feel at home,” Dixon, 33, said. “There really is something for everyone and it’s an incredible selection of food and drinks that doesn’t come with the pretentiousness of fine dining.”
Keep it local
When discussing the idea behind the marketplace Osaka said the primary goal was to create an environment that was local and representative of the neighborhood.
“We wanted to create a well-rounded selection and we knew it was important to us to keep all of the vendors local,” Osaka said in a release. “Our hope is that we’ll be another draw for the neighborhood that will support its diversity, growth and well-being.”
At the same time he added that the idea wasn’t to create just another food court, but to provide patrons with something they could use at home.
“We wanted people to be able to buy the food here that they can use,” said Osaka, whose Asian-themed restaurants in the area operate Silva’s Fish Market at the Central Market selling salmon, striped bass and kampachi from Japan along with serving oysters and ceviche. “It will very much change the landscape and mind-set of how people shop for food.”
Among some of the local vendors are also first-timers like Justin Herd who operates The Local Butcher, a full service butcher shop providing pork, poultry, lamb and bison as well as a variety of in-house sausages.
For more information on the vendors that make up Denver Central Market visit www.denvercentralmarket.com.