Nearly 200 restaurants opened in Denver in 2020, an impressive number given the global pandemic, and 11 Denver chefs, makers and restaurateurs were semifinalists for the prestigious 2020 James Beard Awards. Five of those chefs and makers were further honored as Nominees for the awards. Denver remains the only city in the U.S. selected to host Slow Food Nations, an international culinary festival modeled after Terra Madre in Turin, Italy and promotes the mission of Slow Food.
Colorado as a state has the fourth most breweries per capita. Colorado is also one of the top five states with the most craft distilleries. In 2021, Esquire named Colorado, “one of the foremost states when it comes to craft whiskey,” citing two Denver distilleries, Stranahan’s and Leopold Bros. as top options (even naming the latter its No. 8 distillery in the country). This sentiment was echoed by Travel + Leisure, which ranked Leopold Bros. sixth in the country.