WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at http://www.DemocraticConventionWatch.com
Want your state delegation in the hottest restaurant? Better make that reservation quickly:
Denver restaurateurs are stocking the bubbly for the bonanza that the 2008 Democratic National Convention is expected to provide. Venues are booking up fast. Real fast. By only its third day of operation this week, LoDo's new Osteria Marco restaurant - operated by the well-known owners of Mizuna and Luca D'Italia - already had booked two parties for convention week.That is one key advantage. With an east coast convention that ends at 11 it's mostly informal drinks afterwards. But with an 9:00 finish, and trust me, the convention will end at 9 each evening, there will be lots of dinners eaten every night. The top restaurants should do fine.
LoDo's Tamayo, with its terrace view of the Pepsi Center, where the Democrats are holding the convention, was booked solid months ago when a single Denver law firm bought out the restaurant from the Saturday the delegates arrive to the following Saturday. "Because we had such a huge role in bringing the convention to Denver, I wanted to play a role of being able to host functions," said Willie Shepherd, a partner at Kamlet Shepherd & Reichert and a key member of the Denver committee responsible for hosting the convention. "It's going to be something else."
The much-celebrated Restaurant Kevin Taylor already has booked one complete sellout and five smaller parties during the convention. Companion venue Prima Ristorante also has booked one full-restaurant party, and the restaurants' shared wine cellar is nearly booked solid for the first three nights.
"The logistics of this thing are just so enormous," said John Imbergamo, who handles marketing for some of Denver's best-known eateries, such as Dixons, Racines, Goodfriends, Panzano and the two Morton's steakhouses. "The big question in everybody's mind is 'Do I do private events or stay open for walk-ups?"'
Because it remains unclear to many owners, especially in light of disappointing sales during the recent NBA All-Star Game, Imbergamo is encouraging clients to book as many clients as early as possible.
A bonus of the Mountain time zone is that the convention will be held two hours earlier to accommodate prime- time TV coverage for the East Coast. The Mile High City schedule - late afternoon to 9 p.m. - leaves Denver's dinner hour wide open. But with demand so great for brunch, lunch, and pre- and post-convention parties, many restaurants may be too busy for the traditional walk-up.