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Denver Chef Dana Rodriguez has been tapped to lead the Casa Bonita kitchen into its next chapter under the new ownership of “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

Wow, if I could read that sentence to a 2019 version of myself, I’d never believe it.

You’ll know Chef Rodriguez’s work if you’ve ever been to her Denver restaurants Work & Class or Super Mega Bien (SMB is legit, btw 🤤). She’s also a three-time James Beard award nominee. Suffice it to say, Parker and Stone brought in some big guns.

But what does that mean for the Casa Bonita kitsch factor we all secretly love? Rodriguez told 5280 the new Casa Bonita team’s motto is “change nothing and improve everything.” According to the chef, the food offerings will largely remain the same; they’ll just be better.

The same can be said for everything else, too, Rodriguez says. She herself is a longtime CB fan, taking her kids there for the quintessential Colorado birthday party. [Parker and Stone] don’t want to change what Casa Bonita is. Just think clean and perfect and elevated — you’re still gonna see the gorillas walking around there. They just might smell better.”

Rodriguez also reports that the iconic eatertainment venue might be open for business as soon as next summer. But for now, we just wait…

☀️ Today should be mostly sunny with a high of 41. And if we don’t get snow by Friday (which doesn’t look likely), we’ll set a new record for Denver’s longest ever no-snow streak. 


🚨 Ex-employees of Blush & Blu allege wage theft, discrimination
Three former employees of Blush & Blu — Denver’s only lesbian bar and one of the country’s last — are suing the establishment for alleged racial discrimination and wage theft by owner Jody Bouffard. “When you’re queer or trans, it can be hard to risk exclusion from queer spaces and the queer community,” one plaintiff said in a statement. “I put up with mistreatment and underpayment at Blush for years, but I am proud to finally speak out.” [Denver Post]

♻️ Colorado’s probably less green than you thought…
According to this year’s annual report on the state of Colorado’s recycling industry, we really need to step up the green game. The report states that Colorado only recycles 15% of its trash compared to the national average of 32%, making Colorado one of the 20 most wasteful states. Sadly, the only reason our numbers have improved at all is because our population has grown, not because we’re recycling any more than we were 10 years ago. [Denverite]
👉 What you can do: Look for the “Waste No More” ballot initiative slated to land in front of Denver voters next year.

🚫 Health officials want stricter vax mandates
On Sunday, Gov. Jared Polis issued a local health order requiring proof of vaccination for all large indoor unseated events. Local health authorities said it was a step in the right direction, but not nearly enough. The Metro Partnership for Health is pushing the governor to enact a statewide health order that requires proof of vaccination for bars and restaurants too, plus an indoor mask mandate for unvaccinated people, including children. [Denverite]


It’s Native American Heritage Month. Is there someone or something you’d like to shout out?

What do you think? Write me at, or by replying to this email, and I might just share your answer in the newsletter this week.


Is It Really That Hard to Build Affordable Housing in Denver?
17 mins
It’s no secret that Denver needs more affordable places for people to live — but it takes developers to build those places. Host Bree Davies talks with developer Kimball Crangle of Gorman & Company, about the whats, hows, and whys of affordable housing in Denver.

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+ TONIGHT: The 2021 Big HoliGay Bazaar
Tonight marks the first installment of this four-part holiday market pop-up series at Denver Milk Market. Each rendition will bring new vendors, fresh entertainment, and different nonprofit partner.

+ FRIDAY: Queer Comics at Tattered Cover
Meet Yves Navant — illustrator, author, and self-proclaimed nerd — at the Colfax Tattered Cover to discuss queer identity in the world of comics.

+ FRIDAY: Denver Christkindlmarket
Christkindlmarket celebrates the season in authentic German tradition with hot mulled wine, Bavarian-style Biers, and local artisan gifts. Find it at Civic Center Park starting Friday and running through Dec. 23. 


Apparently there was a helluva sunrise over Denver yesterday morning. I wouldn’t know. I don’t wake up early enough for that. But the proof is in these pictures, and the sunrise was pretty enough to make me almost consider becoming a morning person. [See more 👉 9News]

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