Handing out food and warm clothes and then enjoying dinner at a cozy restaurant, two different neighborhoods within a span of four hours, a breadth of experience endearing us to Denver and the people who live here. Both activities engendered care and comfort, kindness and friendliness, neighbors helping neighbors, Mr. Roger’s ethos in action:
“As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is,
that each of us has something that no one else has –
or ever will have – something inside that is unique to all time.” – Mr. Rogers
Betsy and Sean, co-owners of Acova are the new “Mr and Mrs. Rogers” for the LoHi (Lower Highlands) area in Denver. Starting with the reservation process, Betsy made us feel valued. She reached back on the telephone wanting to “meet me” and be sure to understand our desires for the evening. What a contrast with the normal unfriendly online process! The welcoming phone call set the stage for a delightful dinner. It was like being home and the menu reflected this comfort with an assortment of delicious items, innovative, classic and healthy.
The owners of Acova want to make a positive impact on the LoHi neighborhood. Starting from the building itself, they lovingly preserved and restored the structure (formerly the iconic Patsy’s restaurant) versus knocking it down. The indoor and outdoor spaces are open and warm with a variety of textures. Inside and out you will find thoughtfully configured seating. There’s also an adorable play area outside for young children.
Affording parents and their children a relaxed and thoughtful experience is front and center in the design and inclusion of a Montessori-inspired play area: including, for example, colorful tires for climbing and gross motor skills, a sound wall that can be manipulated, a baby and larger occupation therapy-type “nest” swing. Acova also donates $2 for each kids’ menu item to a local children’s charity every month.
Whether the weather is warm or chilly, this is your place to gather and there’s lots of room for large groups. On its
website Acova describes how the restaurant fits in with people’s lives in the neighborhood:
“Cova, which means Nest in Italian, is your place. The place you bring friends and family from out of town to show them what Denver’s all about. The place you go for that after work cocktail, or your go to date spot, whether it’s your first or 50th date. The place you get the group together on a Saturday night, and where you recover together on a Sunday morning.”
Haven’t been to Denver’s LoHi neighborhood? According to Forbes magazine, LoHi “peddles rooftop bars, festivals like the LoHi Musical Festival, street fairs, and the third highest number of coffee shops per capita in (Forbes’) round up…”. Visit Denver describes LoHi as follows: “LoHi is characterized by a mix of old and ultra-modern architecture, some of the city’s most innovative restaurants and bars, and incredible views of the Highland Bridge and downtown.” Check out Acova. Check out LoHi!
The next time you travel become familiar with different neighborhoods. Or explore a new neighborhood right where you live. What are you waiting for? When stepping into an unfamiliar neighborhood be curious and kind. Understand where you are in the bigger context of a destination and then enjoy some moments in another person’s community aka “home”.