Denver restaurant sales up 11 percent, leading statewide boom

Photo: Denver restaurant
In this March 24, 2014 photo, Domo owner and head chef Gaku Homma Sensei, right, works with a fellow chef in the small kitchen at his restaurant in Denver.

Colorado’s restaurant scene doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Sales at the state’s eateries hit a first quarter record, led by a strong increase in Denver.

Denver is the crown jewel of the state’s restaurant scene, dwarfing all other counties with $500 million in sales in the first quarter of this year.

Establishments in the capitol city led the way with an 11 percent increase over last year. That marks 18-straight quarters of sales growth for the city, stretching back to the end of 2009.

Gina Petrini, the general manager of Marcos Coal-Fired Pizza near Coors Field, credits the booming economy.

"Food culture is booming as well," she says. "You’re finding a lot more top-name chefs in this particular area and you’re finding people a little more in tune with the foodie scene, so that encourages and entices people to get out and try new things."

Petrini says record sales have led to more restaurants opening in the area. Which in turn, has increased competition and made retail space hard to find.

Every county in the state reported an increase in first-quarter restaurant sales.