Eating out is in in Denver, new report says

A new report shows Denver is of best-positioned places for the rising uptick in restaurant spending.

staff photo
Diners sit on the Rialto Cafe's patio on the 16th Street Mall. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

central business district; 16th street mall; sixteenth street; dining; food; restaurants; patio; entertainment; denver; denverite; colorado; kevinjbeaty

Diners sit on the Rialto Cafe's patio on the 16th Street Mall. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

It only took us 239 years as a country, but Americans have finally figured out we don’t have to cook or even grocery shop to eat.

U.S. restaurant sales surpassed grocery sales for the first time last year, according to government data. And a new report shows Denver is of best-positioned places for the rising uptick in restaurant spending.

Restaurant sales have historically been highest in primary cities like New York City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., but thanks to the growth in food trucks, food halls, celebrity-chef restaurants and “grocerants” it’s time for second shelf metros like Denver to thrive.

“Secondary urban markets are best positioned for restaurant spending growth, most notably Minneapolis, Denver, Baltimore and Philadelphia,” according to “Restaurants: Now serving retail growth.”

The CBRE Research report released this summer says that the number of quick-service restaurants in Denver increased by 67 percent last year compared to the year prior. The report also notes The Source opening in Denver’s RiNo neighborhood during 2015. The food hall features two restaurants, a butcher, a baker, a produce purveyor, a coffee shop, a brewery, a bar and a cheese shop.

While millennials are helping to kill the traditional grocery store they can’t take all the credit for the uptick in restaurant spending. Those in their 20s and 30s eat out more than their parents and grandparents, but they also spend less too, the report says.

Others helping siphon money away from the King Soopers and Safeway-Albertsons of the world include the growing number of food delivery providers like Groupon, seamless, GrubHub, Eat24, Postmates and GoPuff.

Subscribe to Denverite’s newsletter here. Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.