Denverite’s got a new assistant editor, and she’s someone you already know pretty well. Ashley Dean, who greets Denverite readers most mornings in our newsletters, steps into the role next week.
Ashley has been with Denverite from the very beginning as our dining and culture reporter, and we wanted a quick chance to re-introduce her to you via a transcript of an interview we just did in our work chat.
Dave Burdick: Hi Ashley, I’m interviewing you now.
Ashley Dean: Hi!
DB: What are some of the stories you’ve done in the past year and a half that you’re proudest of?
AD: This is kind of like when someone asks what my favorite band is and I suddenly can’t remember any bands. But without digging through the archives, here a few that come to mind.
Last summer, I got to sit outside with some beers and hear some great Denver dudes retell the story of the Underground Music Showcase. It turned into an oral history — my first crack at that form — with voices from a big community of musicians, business owners and other Denverites. It’s maybe the most Denverite thing I’ve done so far, and definitely the most Ashley thing I’ve done so far.
I’m also proud of my reporting on Cold Crush when it was shut down after a deadly shooting in 2016. There’s just something incredibly satisfying about filing record requests, digging through data and being able to answer a question everyone is asking. In this case, the question was, “Is Cold Crush really more of a problem than other bars?” The answer was no.
Also, I once got to recap the adventures of a wayward beagle. It was sublime.
DB: Yeah, that’s kind of the Ashley mix, right? Denver entertainment and how it works, calling bullshit and the occasional dog adventure. We’ve talked about trying to define and redefine what the “culture” beat is here at Denverite. Where do you think you are with that right now? What’s a Denverite culture story?
AD: We started with a pretty rough definition of “culture” and somehow it turned out to be neither broad enough nor granular enough. Rather than thinking about it as just music, art, food and nightlife, I’m starting to think about culture in the ways Denverites live and how our changing city is making it easier, harder or just plain different. So right now I’m thinking about questions like: Will Denver become a 24-hour city? Where are young families settling down in the metro area? What even is a Colorado accent anyway?
DB: Some people say it’s neutral, but I swear some of my oldest friends say a couple of things a little weirdly, like “melk,” “ayggs” and “pellow.”
On the dining front — people sometimes ask me where they should go when they’re in town and usually I then text you to ask where my friends should go. And, in fact, I have a friend coming to town who used to live in Denver. Where should we take her out to dinner or drinks? Probably someplace relatively new that still feels like Denver. She appreciates craft beer, whiskey, classical music and making the world better.
AD: Highly specific recommendation requests are my favorite kind. It sounds like Fort Greene might be about her speed for drinks (and a bonus for you: they do good vegetarian food). Meadowlark Kitchen is a good standby for dinner or drinks and has the added benefit of being close to a lot of good bars. If she likes music, maybe you can interest her in fancy cocktails and jazz at Nocturne?
Matter of fact, I’d recommend almost anything along Larimer Street. She might remember Il Posto from its humble beginnings in a little space on 17th Avenue — now it’s got big, fancy digs on Larimer. Los Chingones is a good place to get your craft taco fix. And a bartender at Matchbox once served me an entire pint glass of Maker’s Mark on the rocks when I ordered a double. He even gave me a straw.
Oh! And if you want to make the world better with a meal, you might start at Trattoria Stella on a Sunday night, when they donate a percentage of sales to charity. It also happens to be my reasonably-priced-Italian-food standby.