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Editor’s note

This DU-themed cake features edible replicas of the Mary Reed Building, the Ritchie Center and Johnson-McFarlane Hall. Cake by John Spotz

It was my coworker Kathryn Mayer — since departed for a managing-editor gig elsewhere in Denver — who first had the idea for a food issue of the University of Denver Magazine. We were turning up so many stories about alumni doing interesting things in the restaurant world, both in Denver and around the country, that she figured we could easily fill an issue with them. As an avid diner-outer, if not much of a cook, I agreed.

We knew we had to profile Frank Bonanno, a real-estate grad who owns six of Denver’s highest-profile restaurants, so I sat down with him at the bar of his restaurant Mizuna, where he chewed tobacco and told me about his journey from pizza cook to gourmet chef.

I also thought it would be fun to go behind the scenes at the Knoebel School of Hospitality Management. Everyone knows DU has a great hotel and restaurant management program, but what do the students there actually do? We put staff writer Richard Chapman on the case, and he turned in a typically entertaining and informative report.

But the best part of putting together our food issue was the alumni-owned restaurant roundup. Reading about all the cool places that DU folks have opened made me so hungry I immediately put them on my to-eat list, starting with a Sunday-morning trip to Snooze for a Bloody Mary and some corned beef hash. Next on my list are ChoLon Asian Bistro, which I first wrote about for our DU Today website, and two other alumni-owned restaurants I’ve heard great things about: Gene Tang’s 1515 and Blair Taylor’s Barolo Grill.

Fortunately I was already familiar with the hearty brunch fare and tasty beers at the Bull and Bush and the awesome sandwiches at Vert Kitchen, located just a few miles from DU. And for two years in a row, our University Communications office has held our Thanksgiving eve happy hour at Jim Wiste’s Campus Lounge, which puts out a free turkey-and-all-the-trimmings spread the night before the big day.

As author Susie Heller says in our Q&A, “Everyone has an opinion on food. It’s our unifier.” I hope our special food issue gives you a lot to think about, and I hope it makes you hungry. If you live in the Denver area, think DU the next time you go out to eat. And if you live somewhere else and know of alumni-owned restaurants in your area, please tell us about them.

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