by E. Brandt
Conventioneers, here are some potentially fascinating destinations for the out-of-towner that will take you a bit off the beaten path without losing you. Read on to learn where to find Vietnamese and Mexican neighborhood restaurants, a new (sub)urban development, and a historical â€œoldeâ€ suburban downtown.
South Federal Boulevard
Head west out of downtown, and exit Federal Boulevard going south â€“ that’s right, south. You aren’t going to the Highlands for this ride. South Federal is lined with Latino and Asian shops, markets, and restaurants, much of the signage in foreign script.
The Far East Center is located on the south-west corner of Alameda (300 block south); you cannot miss its large oriental gate-like entrance. Inside are restaurants, Asian bakeries, the kind of food markets filled with recently-dead animals hanging and on ice, and gift-shops of various Asian persuasions.
Further south are several locally famous Vietnamese restaurants, including Little Saigon (630 South), T-Wa Inn (555 South), New Saigon and Dalat (940 South). These are famous with good reason, people. (Ed. Note: New Saigon, located at 630 S. Federal, has been named Best Vietnamese in Denver pretty much non-stop since the late 1980s. It’s arguably the best Asian in town, period.)
On the way down to Torres Mexican Restaurant (1595 South Federal) you will pass several Asian and Mexican markets the likes of which you will not encounter many other places. Just drive, and enjoy.
Belmar is a new urban development in Lakewood, the suburb directly west of Denver. Built on the sacred burial grounds of an old mall locals shopped at through the ’80s (a mall that, sadly, remained open at 50% capacity through the ’90s) this brand-new mini-city is in the typical new urban style: trendy and expensive shops, trendy and seemingly useless obscure shops, art galleries, lofts, townhouses, restaurants. Included are one-of-a-kinders like The Oven (wicked wood-fired pizza and wine) and a place selling imported Asian pop-culture stuff. Check out their Web site to see what else you can find at Belmar.
Arvada is the suburb west and slightly north of Denver. â€œOlde Towne Arvadaâ€ is just what it sounds like, a neighborhood of preserved and reconditioned buildings from the golden days, including names and places dating back to some Colorado forefathers. Here we have an eclectic collection of restaurants and shops, and an interesting neighborhood to walk around and explore. Very quick to get to from downtown, take I-70 west to Wadsworth and exit northbound, then look for signs.