Source-ExteriorThe stretch of Brighton Boulevard, just outside of downtown has long been a grungy area you passed through (quickly) unless you had business there with some industrial company. But now, it’s a burgeoning, happening area, part of what’s referred to as Denver’s River North District (RiNo), with spiffy apartment buildings, chic businesses and more doggie-washing-daycare places than you can throw a stick at. There’s still plenty of grunge but it’s not long for this world.

One of the most interesting new incarnations of the area is The Source, described on their website as “an artisan food market that occupies a former 1880’s brick foundry building…a collective of food artisans and retailers offering visitors everything from freshly baked bread to craft cocktails, from street tacos to contemporary flower arrangements.” There, couldn’t have said it better myself.

Babettes, French bakery in The Source.
Babettes, French bakery in The Source.

Once you’ve maneuvered the rough (repave it, please) parking lot outside, you’ll walk into the cavernous space lined with 15 businesses around the edges, with a bar and general seating area in the center. It’s uber-cool and yet approachable with friendly vendors happy to answer questions.

Think of The Source as the chic village you go into, to buy your bread from the baker, flowers from the florist, meat from the butcher, etc. It’s a lovely, old-fashioned but totally sensible and wonderful idea whose time has come again.

A beautiful specimen of coffee from Boxcar Roasters, inside The Source.
A beautiful specimen of coffee from Boxcar Roasters, inside The Source.

 

Devote a few hours and take in each vendor, visiting with the shop-keeps who are knowledgeable and passionate about what they do, create and sell. It’s one-stop shopping that makes you feel like you had a lovely experience rather than just “going to the store.” There’s definitely something to be said for shopping at individual vendors who specialize versus big-box stores. Go to The Source (literally and figuratively) to see the difference.