Restaurant workers in the Mile High City are asking: Why work in a stressful kitchen when you can make $22 an hour in a greenhouse?
It’s hard to think of an American city that isn’t experiencing a restaurant boom these days. Put Denver at the top of that list: By some accounts, 30 spots will have opened this spring, including the new Departure Denver, a popular Asian small-plates spot recently transplanted from Portland, Ore., and an outpost of the beloved New York bar, Death & Company on the way.
However, the city is facing a major problem as a result of one of its biggest recent tourism drivers. The pot industry is taking a toll on local restaurant work forces and in some cases, liquor sales. “No one is talking about it,” said Bobby Stuckey, the James Beard award winning co-owner of Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder and the soon-to-open Tavernetta in Denver. “But Colorado’s restaurant labor market is in Defcon 5 right now, because of weed facilities.”