Greenery isn't bush-league

Column by Penny Parker


Remember when “take me out to the ball game” meant a meal of peanuts and crackerjack along with a hot dog and beer? So imagine what a healthy home run that Aramark, Coors Field's exclusive concessionaire, is hitting with the introduction of a sustainable garden located at Gate A of the ball field.

The Colorado Rockies and Aramark have partnered with The Institute for the Built Environment at Colorado State University and Designs by Sundown to produce the on-site garden, which will provide the concessionaire with herbs and vegetables for use in Coors Field's Mountain Ranch Club menu and build-your-own salad station.

The design of “The Garden,” which is its official name, mimics a baseball stadium, with raised beds terracing upward from The Garden's “infield” to the outfield and then to the stands. Ornamental flowers, followed by herbs, followed by vegetables will be on display for fans that pass through Gate A over the course of the Rockies' season.

The beds will be constructed of beetle kill pinewood sourced from Morgan Timber Products of Fort Collins. The plantings will be propagated at CSU from seeds adapted to the Colorado climate.

The installation of The Garden marks a further commitment by the Rockies and Aramark to develop environmentally friendly programs in alignment with Major League Baseball's recent green focus.

On the other side of the snack spectrum, Aramark has added plenty of indulgent items that first were offered with last the April 5 home opener. They are:

• Sausage on a stick — Italian, smoked cheddar, spicy Polish sausage.

• Carnitas nachos — tortilla chips smothered in green chili queso topped with pork carnitas, jalapenos, pico de gallo and sour cream.

• Smothered empanada — topped with former Bronco Mark Schlereth's Stinkin' Green Chili, shredded lettuce, pico de gallo and sour cream.

• Pizza nachos — fresh fried pizza dough chips topped with house-made marinara sauce, shredded mozzarella, diced pepperoni and sausage.

• Rib eye sandwich — a 4-ounce rib eye served with sliced Havarti horseradish cheese, topped with onion tanglers and tangy gold barbecue sauce.

• Souvenir refillable popcorn.

Laird lands at Sarto's

Since talented chef Brian Laird left Barolo Grill, after a 12-year stint in command of the kitchen, he bounced around Denver's dining scene between the now-shuttered Russo's in the Vallagio development in Arapahoe County to the now-shuttered RockBar on East Colfax to Sketch at 101 Broadway.

I don't think that Laird knew what he wanted to do when he grew up. But the boy wonder (he looks younger than his years) finally has landed at a spot I think he can call home. Sarto's, a northern Italian eatery poised to open in the fall in a vacant century-old property at the corner of Eliot Street and 25th Avenue, will be the centerpiece of an emerging neighborhood between Highland and Sports Authority Field.

Laird and majority owners Taylor Swallow and Kjsa Gotlin share a passion for northern Italian cuisine, which will be adapted to reflect contemporary tastes.

Laird will craft a seasonal made-from-scratch menu featuring locally sourced products, hand-selected Italian specialty items, antipasti creations, house-made pasta and wood-fired selections.

A floor-to-ceiling bar will feature custom cocktails, Italian wines and beers, as well as a handful of domestic selections. The space will seat 90 indoors and include covered patio seating outdoors.

Adjacent to the restaurant will be Sarto's Pantry, which will offer quick bites for lunch or dinner including soups, sandwiches, salads and pizzas, plus take-home ingredients such as fresh pastas, sauces, meats and cheeses.

For more information, visit or or follow on Twitter @sartosdenver.

Singin' and dancin' in Denver

“Ballroom with a Twist,” a super show coming to the Buell Theatre June 8 and 9, combines celebrity pros from “Dancing With the Stars” with “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance “ finalists.

The international dance production, with stunning costumes and performances that push the boundaries of ballroom dancing, features “Dancing With the Stars” competitors Jonathan Roberts, Anna Trebunskaya, Tristan MacManus and Chelsie Hightower. “American Idol” finalists are Gina Glocksen (season six) and Von Smith (season eight). “So You Think You Can Dance” finalists are Randi Lynn Strong, Jonathan Platero and Legacy.

“Dancing With the Stars” Emmy-nominated Louis van Amstel's choreography brings sizzling dance moves and fancy flash to this family-friendly evening.

Single tickets for “Ballroom With a Twist” start at $20. To charge by phone, call Denver Center ticket services at 303-893-4100 or buy online at

Good eats in Estes

If it works for Denver, why can't it work for Estes Park?

Estes Park Restaurant Week takes place from April 12 through 25. The deal? Enjoy a three-course meal for only $20.13.

The week winds up with Taste of Estes on April 25, with area restaurants participating at the Conference Center at Rocky Mountain Park Inn.

Some participating restaurants in Estes Park Restaurant Week will offer breakfast and lunch specials or upgraded dinner packages at $30.13 or $40.14. See more restaurant and menu information at

Mornings with Moreno

I told you recently that CBS4 has hired Britt Moreno from KSAZ-TV in Phoenix, as Alan Gionet's other half on the “CBS4 Morning News” at 5 and 6 a.m. as well as on the noon news.

The news is that Moreno has made her morning debut.

“We are very pleased to have Britt join CBS4,” said news director Tim Wieland. “She is a great journalist who connects with viewers and will be a strong addition to our talented team.”

Moreno, who is bilingual, is originally from Austin. She attended Trinity University in San Antonio, where she received degrees in communications and Spanish.

Morreale, city duel again

Jesse Morreale, the beleaguered owner of the historic 101 Broadway building — home of restaurants El Diablo and Sketch Wine Bar — must feel like Public Enemy No. 1 to Denver Mayor Michael Hancock's administration.

In the latest bout between the restaurateur and the city, Morreale was found to have violated his liquor license for allegedly serving alcohol to a minor — an allegation he vehemently denies.

In the final order issued April 1 (ironically on April Fool's Day, as Morreale points out), the Department of Excise and Licenses director Tom Downey sided with the hearing officer who found the restaurant in violation of its liquor license and recommended a penalty.

The end result of the penalty gives Morreale until April 11 to choose six days where the restaurants will not be allowed to serve liquor, and two of those days must include a Friday or Saturday.

In no way does that mean the restaurants will have to shut down during those six liquor-free days. If he elects not to appeal and the order stands, Morreale said he'll likely “make lemonade out of lemons” by branding those nights “family nights.”

The underage liquor violation took place at El Diablo on Aug. 24 during an incident that Morreale called “a sting” by the Denver Police Department.

But this latest dust-up isn't Morreale's first legal rodeo with the city. He famously fought the law last year when the city shut him down by deeming the building “unsafe” for public occupancy even though El Diablo had been serving diners for three years.

Whether 101 Broadway has been repaired and now meets the city's safety standards is a point of contention between both parties with no real resolution in sight. Stay tuned for updates on that evolving drama.

Juicy story

This restaurant rumor has some meat to it. According to a broker, Del Frisco's Grille, long rumored to be coming to the Denver market, will supposedly take a large space in the First Bank redevelopment project on First Avenue and St. Paul Street in Cherry Creek North.

The more casual sibling of the dynamite Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse (with one in the Tech Center), Del Frisco Grille's motto is “food and drinks that are built to share.”

Del Frisco Grilles are located in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, New York, Phoenix and Washington, D.C. The menu features less-expensive items including flatbread, chicken wings, deviled eggs, sandwiches, pasta, meatloaf and chicken schnitzel. Open Table lists the price point at $31 to $50, as opposed to Del's “special occasion” prices that start at $50 per person.

Looking for love

Was Denverite Eric Elkins looking for love in all the wrong places? Perhaps that's why he decided to give “The Steve Harvey Show” a shot.

Elkins, a social media expert, put his love life in the comedian/talk show host's hands.

“A single dad who says he's ready to date comes to Steve for help finding Mrs. Right. Can Steve help him find a love connection?” says a post on Harvey's website.

Apparently Cupid's arrow found its target: A brunette named “Erin,” who has agreed to go on a date with Elkins in Colorado. You can comment on what you think chances are that there's a love connection at

“The Steve Harvey Show” airs at 9 a.m. weekdays on KTVD, Channel 20.

Symphony sweepstakes

The Colorado Symphony Association is launching its first raffle in more than two decades: The Great Symphony Sweepstakes, which will be music to the winner's ears.

Grand prize includes a 2013 Prius Persona with sales taxes paid by the Symphony, one year of free parking at the Denver Performing Arts Complex and two tickets to all 51 Colorado Symphony performances during the 2013-14 season at Boettcher Concert Hall.

Only 4,999 tickets will be sold, and the grand prize winner will be drawn June 8 at “Solid Gold,” the Doc Severinsen concert. Ticket holders do not need to be present to win.

Raffle tickets cost $75 each or five for $300, and are available online at, at the Boettcher box office and through one of the Symphony's in-person sales agents.

Hair-raising event in Arvada

If you're in Arvada on April 19 check out a truly Epic Experience. Several community leaders will have their heads shaved at the D-Note, 7519 Grandview Ave. in Arvada from 5-7 p.m. as part of a fundraiser for the cancer charity, Epic Experience. D'Ametri's Hair Salon will donate their time to shave heads and live music will be performed by the Duke Street Kings.

Donations for this event can be made online at Arvada Chamber of Commerce President Dot Wright, Arvada City Councilman Bob Dyer and several other local leaders will have their hair shorn during the event. Dyer says, “I am dedicating what little hair I have to those friends battling cancer and to the little dynamo who organized this adventure.”

Penny Parker's “Mile High Life” column gives insights into the best events, restaurants, businesses, parties and people throughout the metro area. Parker also writes for You can subscribe and read her columns (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) at She can be reached at or at 303-619-5209.


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