Perched on rolling plains at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, Denver, Colorado is known as an city where there’s so many choices in outdoor and urban recreation, meeting attendees will never run out of things to do. But what will delegates eat after hiking the trails at Red Rocks or paddle boarding at Chatfield Reservoir? The location last year for the 15th season of Bravo’s Top Chef, Denver finally us gaining national recognition for its rapidly evolving food and beverage scene, which includes Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, fresh seafood, and some of the nation’s best craft breweries.
“Chefs, vintners, and distillers are working their magic on products grown right here in our state,” Rachel Benedick, vice president of sales and services at VISIT DENVER tells PCMA, “as well as top-quality ingredients imported from around the world. This results in dishes and drinks that do more than just keep your guests energized, they get them excited about your next event.”
Meeting planners can choose to host intimate networking receptions on the patio of the Mediterranean-inspired Rioja, owned by James Beard Award-winning chef Jennifer Jasinski. Or treat delegates to elevated comfort food at Mercantile Dining & Provision, helmed by another James Beard Award-winning chef, Alex Seidel. For a unique spin on a post-dinner treat, consider some of the unique dessert creations and cupcakes at D Bar Denver, owned by Keegan Gerhard, one of the top pastry chefs in the United States.
If you want to keep attendees under one roof, plenty of hotels in Denver offer first-class meeting facilities, in addition to world-class dining. The Halcyon Hotel, for example, offers more than 6,500 square feet of event space, while Top Chef runner-up Gregory Gourdet serves dynamic dishes like chili and lemongrass tiger prawns at his modern Asian kitchen, Departure. Likewise, the Kimpton Hotel Born provides more than 13,900 square feet of meeting space, including a 3,400 square-foot ballroom, while the chefs at the hotel’s onsite restaurant, Citizen Rail, craft traditional favorites like dry-aged steaks and a burger they claim is “so rich it’s almost obscene.”
For group excursions, delegates can explore the Denver Central Market, where they’ll find fresh baked bread, charcuterie, and seafood. There’s also Avanti F&B, inspired by European food markets and with breathtaking views of downtown, which features a variety of vendors, like Chow Morse, serving Italian street food, and Quickfish, offering fresh poke. The Source is an artisan food market occupying a former 1880s iron foundry, and is currently serving up everything from street tacos to craft sour beers. Finally, Denver Milk Market, adjacent to the Maven Hotel, includes a bevvy of concepts all curated by local restaurateur Frank Bonanno.
While Denver is known for its craft breweries, it’s also home to dozens of wineries and tasting rooms. Meeting planners can host an opening night reception at Bigsby’s Folly Craft Winery in the artsy RiNo district. The stylish, 7,000-square-foot urban winery comfortably accommodates groups of up to 300. The Roaring ‘20s-inspired tasting room provides a great location for a catered dinner. Attendees can even become winemakers for a day at one of Bigsby’s blending sessions.
In addition to wineries, Denver has a burgeoning distillery and craft cocktail scene. Some of the city’s best speakeasies include the Green Russell and Millers & Rossi. Once inside
these unique and discreetly marked locations, attendees can order drinks made with spirits from one of the destination’s distilleries, including Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey, Laws Whiskey House, and Family Jones Spirit House. Planners also can work with Visit Denver to help arrange a tour of any wineries or distilleries in the city.
”Denver’s dining and nightlife scene has reached its breakthrough moment,” says Benedick. “Denver has quickly emerged as one of the top foodie cities in the country.”
Photos and videos courtesy of VISIT DENVER.