Denver’s Colfax Avenue is jammed with history, freaks, neon. Its champion is an Elvis impersonator, of course

Jonny Barber on his beloved Colfax Avenue in Denver. (David Kelly / For The Times)

One of the occupational hazards of dressing like Elvis is having a homeless guy throw you into a headlock and refuse to let go until you sing him a song.

“I said, ‘What do you want to hear, ‘Please Release Me?’” recalled Jonny Barber, the Elvis impersonator in question. “He says, ‘No, sing me ‘In the Ghetto.’”

Anywhere else it would have been a scene, but here on Colfax Avenue it was just another night.

As perhaps the nation’s longest commercial street, Colfax is jammed with history, freaks, neon and occasional peril as it cuts through Golden, Denver, Lakewood, Aurora and beyond.

Barber, 49, has spent the last 14 years chronicling the history of Colfax, collecting thousands of artifacts, including a stegosaurus footprint dating back 150 million years to the Jurassic period.

He’s now moving it all from his basement into the new Colfax Museum, a celebration of the road that runs 53.3 miles from the Denver metro area clear through Bennett on Colorado’s eastern plains. It’s actually part of U.S. 40, which once stretched from Atlantic City, N.J., to San Francisco but now ends in Utah.

Colfax is an eclectic patchwork of people, commerce and architecture. East African immigrants in traditional dress thread their way through clusters of homeless people at bus stops. Upscale condos stand near worn-out motels with flickering 1950s-era neon signs. World-class hospitals share the road with strip joints and dive bars.

“Everyone knows Route 66 because they had a better PR guy, a better song and a TV show,” Barber said. “But much of American pop culture got its start on Colfax.”

The Beat generation, he contends, was born when Hal Chase, a Columbia University anthropology major, met Denver native Neal Cassady at the old public library on Colfax. Chase later introduced Cassady to writer Jack Kerouac and poet Allen Ginsberg in New York.

“If Neal Cassady hadn’t met Hal Chase at the library, there would have been no Beat generation,” Barber said.

A mural on Colfax shows a quote from Jack Kerouac, who spent time in Denver.

Ginsberg later came to town, hanging out at the Colburn Hotel near Colfax with his fellow Beats; he mentions Denver in his poem “Howl.” Kerouac moved to a house off Colfax. His classic work “On the Road” describes its main character, Dean Moriarty, famously leaving Denver by roaring "east along Colfax and out to the Kansas plains."

Barber, a musician and semiretired Elvis impersonator, revels in this sort of history. He invited a visitor for a drive along Colfax, launching immediately into a stream-of-consciousness soliloquy on the life and legends of the road.

“That was once Smiley’s, the world’s biggest laundromat,” he said, passing a warehouse-like building. “That hotel? The uncle of the Red Baron had his funeral there. Clint Eastwood walked his orangutan past that place in ‘Every Which Way But Loose.’ The guy who created the Colorado Gay Rodeo worked over there. I performed an Elvis wedding at that church.”

He pulled up to the Satire Lounge, where a neon arrow leads to a big martini glass.

“This is where Judy Collins got her start,” Barber said. “The Smothers Brothers had an apartment upstairs.”

He wandered next door to Pete’s Kitchen, a 50-year-old Greek diner with a neon sign showing a pancake flipping through the air. A picture of Barber in Elvis regalia hangs on the wall.

A customer spun around. A fan?

“When are they going to take my order?” he groused. “I’ve been waiting like 20 minutes.”

Before U.S. 40 was shortened to end in Utah, it ran past the San Francisco hospital where Barber was born.

His father was a law professor who moved to Colorado and bought a ranch in the mountains. Barber managed it but he really wanted to sing and play guitar. He finally scored a gig at the Lion’s Lair, a renowned dive bar on Colfax.

“When I drove in someone literally shot at my van,” he said. “I get to the Lion’s Lair and two guys are having sex in a Dumpster.”

Finding it seedy yet thrilling, he rented a place nearby and began collecting the stories of Colfax. The road was named after Schuyler Colfax, vice president to Ulysses S. Grant and onetime speaker of the House.

“Everything that happened in Colorado or the American West passed through Colfax,” Barber said.

The road gained popularity after World War II with the birth of the automobile culture. Hundreds of motels, dinner clubs and tourist traps sprang up to reel in passing motorists. Kitsch was king.

Some places, like the futuristic Science Fiction Land, never got off the ground. Others, like Alligator Gardens and Snake Stockade, probably shouldn’t have.

“What would I have given to wrestle a gator on Colfax?” Barber asked dreamily.

He and his wife had plenty of run-ins with the two-legged denizens of the street. They were once managers of a bed-and-breakfast on a sketchy stretch of Colfax. There was occasional gunfire outside; prostitutes worked the street. One night a drunk broke through the door of Room 32. Barber kept the door, which will join the posters, postcards and historical photographs inside the museum, which opened Saturday inside Ed Moore Florist shop on Colfax.

The museum will also commemorate the 200 or so motels that once lined Colfax, places like Lloyds of Lakewood and Charlie Chan Village. The Bugs Bunny Motel, where actress Sue Lyon of “Lolita” fame once stayed, still stands. Its name was changed to Big Bunny Motel in 1997, Barber said, after a copyright dispute with Warner Brothers. The Golden Hours Motel, where John Hinckley plotted to assassinate Ronald Reagan, also remains.

The Big Bunny Motel on Colfax Avenue.

Barber has collected these details on his extensive site, earning him a reputation as the unofficial historian of the street.

“If Colfax looks different in 20 years, I can’t change that,” he said. “But I can create a time capsule full of its stories and tall tales.”

“Today, Colfax is undergoing a lot of development. It’s becoming a bit more mainstream than eclectic,” said former Colorado state Sen. Russell Hagedorn, who grew up near Colfax. “It’s inevitable that it will change, but the legend will live on. The museum will tell the story to future generations.”

Frank Locantore, executive director of the Colfax Avenue Business Improvement District, says the road has been defined by change.

“This is the most democratic street in Denver,” he said. “We are not going backward; we are creating our own new history, and that history will be very different from the 1950s.”

It already is. Many of the motels are gone; others are long-term rentals for low-income residents. Meanwhile, expensive condos are going up.

Back in the van, Barber cruised down West Colfax, passing a place offering Turkish baths and another selling cremations for $495. Next up was the Pepto-Bismol-pink Casa Bonita, a Mexican restaurant where divers leap from 30-foot-high artificial cliffs into a deep blue pool. The foul-mouthed animated show “South Park” dedicated an episode to the place.

A car pulled up beside him.

“Hey, Elvis! What are you up to, man?” yelled the driver, who had worked with Barber at the bed-and-breakfast.

They shouted pleasantries before the driver sped off.

“That guy was homeless. The motel owner gave him a job, and now look at him,” Barber said. “Colfax can be tough, but there is a tender side as well.”

He grew quiet and scanned the road ahead.

“I recall a guy who roller-skated around here in a pink tutu,” he finally said. “I wonder what happened to him.”

Kelly is a special correspondent.

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After the Denver Broncos 41 to 16 loss to the New England Patriots, the Denver Broncos are now inching closer to picking in the top 5 of the 2018 NFL Draft. According to, the Denver Broncos as of Monday morning currently hold the 6th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Current NFL Draft Order
Pick Team Record Strength Of Schedule Pick Team Record Strength Of Schedule 1 Cleveland Browns 0-9 0.506 2 San Fransisco 49ers 1-9 0.527 3 New York Giants 1-8 0.5 4 Indianapolis Colts 3-7 0.473 5 Cincinnati Bengals 3-6 0.476 6 Denver Broncos 3-6 0.519 7 Los Angeles Chargers 3-6 0.525 8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-6 0.537 9 Houston Texans 3-6 0.537 10 Chicago Bears 3-6 0.605

The Broncos strength of schedule percentage is rather low, so that is why they’re picking ahead of the other teams with 3-6 records.

It’s safe to say at this point that the Broncos would be in the market for a quarterback if they end up picking this high. If they stay in this range, they should be in range to pick one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft.

It appears that the top three picks are locked in. The Cleveland Browns, San Fransisco 49ers, and New York Giants will be fighting it out for the top pick in the 2018 NFL draft. Picks 4 through 32 remain up in the air.

The Broncos do have some “winnable games” upcoming on their schedule, but with the way they’re playing, it’s tough to find a W in their remaining schedule. Remember, this team was dominated at home by the blundering New York Giants who appear to be on the verge of firing their Head Coach.

Here’s a look at the Broncos remaining schedule.

Broncos remaining schedule
Week Team Record Week Team Record 11 Cincinnati Bengals 3-5 12 @Oakland Raiders 4-5 13 @Miami Dolphins 4-4 14 New York Jets 4-6 15 @Indianapolis Colts 3-7 16 Washington Redskins 4-5 17 Kansas City Chiefs 6-3

That’s not an overly tough schedule for the Broncos, but one that has plenty of draft implications.

The Bengals and Colts are currently ahead of the Broncos in the draft order, and those two games could help decide if they pick ahead of behind them when it’s all said and done. Also, a game against the New York Jets figures to be important as well as they’re a top 5 pick contender and a team who figures to be in the market for a quarterback themselves. So if the Broncos want their choice of top quarterback options, they would want to pick ahead of them.

It’s time for the Broncos to give up on the 2017 season and embrace the tank. Start playing the younger guys, give Paxton Lynch some reps, and just prepare for the 2018 season. I hate losing like the rest of you, but losing as many games as possible right now will (hopefully) greatly benefit the Broncos going forward. This will put them in range to select USC’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson, Wyoming’s Josh Allen, or Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield.

It’s time for the Broncos to #EmbraceTheTank and set their sites on finding their next quarterback of the future.

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Sam Darnold has seen plenty of what cornerback Ajene Harris can do in practice. He’s just thankful he doesn’t have to face him when it counts.

Darnold threw for two touchdowns and ran for another score and Harris had two interceptions — including a pick-six — as No. 15 USC beat host Colorado 38-24 on Saturday to wrap up the Pac-12 South title.

“Always good to have someone like him on defense,” Darnold said.

The same can be said of Darnold — on offense, of course — after he threw for 329 yards and improved to 18-3 as a starter.

“I’ve really enjoyed his leadership, whether it’s good times or bad,” USC coach Clay Helton said. “When you’re the quarterback at USC and to have that much pressure on you and do it with so much class and character on a weekly basis, whether things are going good or bad, and perform for his brothers? He’s the definition of believing in the team’s success over individual success.”

The Trojans (9-2, 7-1) will play the Pac-12 North winner on Dec. 1 at Levi’s Stadium.

USC led 27-0 in the third quarter, but needed to weather a late Colorado comeback. The Trojans blocked two field goals to move to 12-0 against the Buffaloes (5-6, 2-6).

“There’s still a lot out there that we have to get ready for,” Helton said. “We’re going to celebrate tonight and go back to work tomorrow.”

Juwann Winfree hauled in touchdown passes of 79 and 57 yards to rally Colorado. But Buffaloes quarterback Steven Montez was tackled on a fourth-down play near the USC goal line with just over a minute remaining. Montez said he thought the Buffs picked up a first down on the previous play.

“It was fourth down — all the way,” Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre said. “I don’t know.”

#19 Washington State 33, Utah 25: Luke Falk threw for 311 yards and three touchdowns as the visiting Cougars (9-3, 6-2) beat the Utes (5-5, 2-5). Washington State needs to beat Washington in Seattle on Nov. 25 to win the Pac-12 North and play in the conference championship game for the first time since the league created divisions in 2011. “For the last three years, we’ve been right on the cusp of the thing,” Cougars coach Mike Leach said. “We’ll see. This is a good group. We’ve won a lot of games in the Pac-12 in the last three years. We need to win another one.”

UCLA 44, Arizona State 37: Josh Rosen threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Lasley on the first play of the fourth quarter and the host Bruins (5-5, 3-4) pulled away from the Sun Devils (5-5, 4-3). Rosen was 25 of 45 for 381 yards with one touchdown and one interception and scored on a 1-yard run as the Bruins outscored the Sun Devils 10-3 in the fourth quarter. Bolu Olorunfunmi ran for 79 yards and one touchdown, Soso Jamabo had a 21-yard touchdown run, and Nate Meadors returned an interception for a touchdown to help UCLA remain undefeated at the Rose Bowl this season.

Arizona 49, Oregon State 28: Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate ran his streak of 100-yard rushing games to six, finishing with 206 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries to lead the host Wildcats (5-5, 4-3) past the Beavers (1-9, 0-7). Arizona ran for a school-record 534 yards, with three players going over 100 yards. Tate had a 19-yard second-quarter touchdown run in which he bowled over a would-be tackler in the open field on his way to the end zone. Tate has four of the five longest touchdown runs for Arizona this season, and twice has run 71 yards for a score.

Pac-12 standings





Washington St.















Oregon State













Arizona State












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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — In the film “Super Bowl LI Champions: New England Patriots,” viewers are taken behind the curtain and into the locker room following a 16-3 victory over the Denver Broncos that clinched the 2016 AFC East championship.

In that moment, head coach Bill Belichick said, “We’ve been hearing all week about how the Patriots can’t come and win in Denver. But not this team. Not this team.”

Belichick, sharing how proud he was of his ’16 squad, repeated himself for effect.

The behind-the-scenes moment is timely to pass along as the Patriots prepare for another visit to Denver on Sunday (NBC, 8:30 p.m. ET).

Belichick needs this team to prove the same thing.

That might explain why one of the first things he mentioned to players early this week was Denver’s impressive sellout streak, which is now at 48 years running and almost 400 straight games. Then when Belichick met with reporters, he said, “The fans have a lot of energy. It’s a great crowd, a great football environment. Sunday night, I’m sure that place will be lit up.”

Quarterback Tom Brady said the sellout streak speaks volumes about the Broncos’ fan base, which has a trademark “In-Com-Plete” chant when opposing quarterbacks don’t connect with their intended receiver. Brady is 3-7 in road games against the Broncos (including playoffs), which is his worst road win percentage against a single team that he’s faced more than once.

One of those losses — a 30-24 decision in overtime — came in 2015 when Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler played one of the best games of his pro career with 270 passing yards. That game was later cited as one reason the Houston Texans aggressively pursued Osweiler as a free agent after that season.

Now the Patriots face Osweiler again as they make a regular-season trip to Denver for the third straight year.

“We’ve always had some tough games out there,” defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said. “That’s a tough place to play — just the environment and atmosphere. They have a great fan base that really gets behind the team and those guys play well at home against us. That’s the difficult part.”

The Broncos also like to remind opponents, with a sign outside of the visitors’ locker room, of the elevation (5,280 feet above sea level).

The Patriots are scheduled to travel to Denver on Friday, which will give them all day Saturday to get a feel for the altitude. Then come Sunday night, they know the silent snap count will be critical.

“It’s tough communication-wise,” Brady said. “But when you play good teams, I think the margin of error is even more slim, and [Denver] has always had a good football team.”

That might be debatable in 2017, but the Patriots can be guaranteed they will be challenged by the environment nonetheless.

“If you like football,” center David Andrews said, “these are the kind of games you get ready to go for.”

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An agreement approved Monday between U.S. officials and environmentalists would ban the use of predator-killing cyanide traps on Colorado public lands, but a government agency said federal workers already had stopped using the devices except on the state’s private lands.

Public pressure for a nationwide ban on the traps — meant to protect livestock from predators — has increased since an Idaho teenager was injured and his dog killed by one in March.

The environmental groups WildEarth Guardians and the Center for Biological Diversity sued the government earlier this year alleging cyanide traps kill wildlife and pets indiscriminately.

Under Monday’s agreement, which was approved by U.S. District Judge Wiley Daniel, the Agriculture Department must re-consider the environmental impacts of the traps as part of its predator management program in Colorado.

Agriculture Department spokeswoman Tanya Espinosa said the devices haven’t been used for years on federal or state lands in Colorado, despite an agency study from January that suggested they were allowed on state land. Espinosa said the inclusion of state lands in that study was unintended.

Espinosa’s statement was corroborated by Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman Lauren Truitt, who said federal workers haven’t used the traps since voters approved an anti-trapping initiative in 1996.

Stuart Wilcox with WildEarth Guardians said he was skeptical of the claim the traps aren’t currently being used on public lands in Colorado. But he had no records that showed otherwise.

The government in June launched a nationwide review of the devices also known as M-44s or "cyanide bombs." The traps are partially buried and baited to attract predators, and animals that trigger them are sprayed with a deadly dose of cyanide.

Espinosa declined to say when the review might be done. An agreement is pending in a separate lawsuit challenging the devices’ use nationwide.

Currently authorized for use in 15 states, M-44s last year killed more than 12,500 coyotes and 852 other animals including raccoons, opossums and skunks, Espinosa said. More than 16,500 traps were deployed nationwide, she said.

The government’s January study said federal workers used 122 M-44s in Colorado between 2010 and 2014. The study did not specify where the traps were set.


Follow Matthew Brown on Twitter at

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James Nord, Associated Press file In this Jan. 12, 2017 file photo, Republican South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley speaks after a committee hearing in Pierre, S.D. Thirty-six attorneys general have signed onto a legal brief in support of South Dakota’s bid to collect sales taxes from out-of-state internet retailers, Jackley said this week. South Dakota is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review whether retailers can be required to collect sales taxes in states where they lack a physical presence.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Thirty-five state attorneys general and the District of Columbia this week signed on to support South Dakota’s legal bid to collect sales taxes from out-of-state internet retailers.

South Dakota is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review whether retailers can be required to collect sales taxes in states where they lack a physical presence. The case could have national implications for e-commerce.

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said in a statement Thursday that Colorado filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting South Dakota’s petition to the high court. The state is seeking to overturn legal rulings issued mostly before the online shopping boom that hamstring officials who want to collect sales taxes from out-of-state retailers.

“South Dakota is leading the national fight to bring tax fairness for our local retailers and to help support main street businesses,” Jackley said.

The support includes neighboring Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wyoming. The other states are: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

The brief says the jurisdictions all rely on consumption taxes to fund essential government operations.

States have pushed Congress to address the issue without success, and one estimate put the loss to states at roughly $26 billion in 2015. South Dakota estimates it loses about $50 million annually to e-commerce.

“The problem with the physical-presence rule is that it was first conceived of in 1967, two years before the moon landing and decades before the first retail transaction occurred over the Internet,” according to the brief.

Some companies such as Amazon have decided to collect state sales taxes despite the precedent.

South Dakota legislators passed a law last year requiring collection of the tax. The law was struck down in September by the state Supreme Court due to precedent. The state had welcomed the defeat so it could try to get the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case.

It takes four U.S. Supreme Court justices to vote to hear a case, or grant certiorari. Jackley said that he hopes the high court agrees to hear the case and issues a decision by June 2018.

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By Giacomo Puccini, Saturday through Nov. 15, Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, Denver, tickets: $20-$210, Info: 303-468-2030.

One of opera’s most iconic stories, Giacomo Puccini’s "La Boheme," is considered to be one of the world’s masterpieces.

The musical tale of six struggling young bohemians in Paris at the close of the 19th century resonates with those new to opera as well as diehard opera fans – despite the fact that it ends sadly.

Opera Colorado opens its 2017-18 season with "La Boheme," on stage through Nov. 15 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. But don’t put off purchasing tickets, as it’s expected to sell out.

The opera will be conducted by Ari Pelto and directed by Matthew Ozawa, with an ensemble cast including soprano Anya Matanovic as Mimi and tenor Dominick Chenes as Rodolfo.

Pelto, Opera Colorado’s music director since 2015, said he has directed nearly 100 performances of "La Boheme" but never tires of it.

"It ranks very near if not at the top of my list of favorite operas. I adore it," he said. "We in the opera world, many of us have done ‘La Boheme’ many times, and all of us still love it. It’s so beautiful, fun and moving, and so incredibly well-written. It is one of the great gems of the world."

Some may recognize "La Boheme" as the opera that moved the character played by Cher to tears in the 1987 movie "Moonstruck" and as the inspiration for the 1996 Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning musical "Rent." It is popular with opera newbies in part because none of its four acts is longer than 30 minutes, Pelto said. Also, "The music is irresistible. And practically everybody would recognize something from it."

The instrumental music in "La Boheme" is performed by the 70-member Opera Colorado Orchestra, now in its second season.

"Part of my responsibility in my position is nurturing, leading and guiding the orchestra, and it’s a group that I’m very proud of. They play incredibly well," Pelto said.

When Opera Colorado planned this, its 35th season, the company looked for three contrasting works, he said. The world premiere of "Steal a Pencil for Me," by Gerald Cohen and Deborah Brevoort, to be at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center in January, and Verdi’s "Falstaff," set for May, round out the schedule.

"This season is certainly a study in contrasts," Pelto said. "Although they’re three incredibly different works, their one similarity is they’re all ensemble pieces. They all rely on having an ensemble cast, not one person who makes it work."

Opera will always attract newer and younger audiences, Pelto said. On Thursday, per tradition, Denver-area middle and high school students will be the audience for the final dress rehearsal of "La Boheme."

"Every time, that audience goes crazy. They love it. I’m a firm believer that anybody who’s given the chance to go see an opera is going to have a good experience, with very few exceptions. I think people can be intimidated by it, but they don’t realize they’re going to be able to understand the story," Pelto said.

For "La Boheme," the translation from Italian is shown on the backs of the seats at Ellie Caulkins.

"It’s a show with great music and great singing. With no microphones used. When people realize that, they are in awe."


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Denver officials are asking voters to approve $937 million in bonds for hundreds of projects, including transportation, parks, libraries, city buildings and cultural institutions.

I have lived in Denver since 1975, and don’t recall ever voting against a bond issue. This year I am voting “no” on every measure except Question 2B, because I don’t trust the mayor and City Council to be proper stewards of that much money. You only have to look at the abuse of the drainage fee to be scared to give these people almost $1 billion to play with.

With 2B, for cultural facilities, there will be representatives of the facilities involved in spending the money, which should limit the hanky panky of the mayor and council.

The pro campaign is also dishonest, in a subtle way, when they say there will be no increase in tax rates. While true, an honest administration would tell voters that they will pay more in taxes because their assessed valuations have gone up.

Denver voters are generally supportive of bond issues. Denver elected officials could be honest with them and still win, but they don’t trust the voters.

Bill DeGroot, Denver

The writer is a retired manager of floodplain management for the Urban Drainage and Flood Control District, which covers the Denver metro area.

Submit a letter to the editor via this form or check out our guidelines for how to submit by e-mail or mail.

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The Mile High City is a great place to explore and have a ton of fun. Denver is full of places of interest, and people are flocking there to relocate and also vacation in general. As you make your way to Denver, I want to keep you well fed. You are going to find quite a few restaurants, and I have three recommendations for you so that you don’t have to worry about picking a dud.

Blue Pan Pizza is on West 32nd Avenue, and as you can tell, deep dish, Chicago style pan pizza is served up at this establishment. I am a fan of both New York style pizza and Chicago style pizza if they are made well. You can get both when you visit Denver, and this is one of the best places to get Chicago style pizza. And to be truthful, it is a unique twist on deep dish pizza, but reviews say it is ‘Detroit style.’

Hacienda Colorado is the next restaurant, and it is on East Mexico Avenue. Enjoy fajitas, tacos and even lettuce wraps. Have you heard of skinny margaritas? This place serves up all kinds of delicious Mexican cuisine. If Mexican food and margaritas sounds good to you, then this is your place to stop.

Now it is time for a cafe. Paramount Cafe is up next, and you can find it on 16th Street. Enjoy cheesecake, a gyro, elk burgers and much more. Now it is time to pick which of these restaurants you are going to enjoy first. Will it be Paramount Cafe? Will it be Hacienda Colorado? Or will it be Blue Pan Pizza? If you ask me, I would have to see what the Blue Pan Pizza is all about first, but each of these establishments have excellent ratings.

DENVER — Two men used a jack to free a 4-year-old preschooler who was hit and dragged under a minivan Wednesday morning near a suburban elementary school, authorities say.

According to Westminster Police, the boy, who was with a parent, was struck while in a crosswalk near Skyline Vista Elementary School at a spot where there was no crossing guard.

A man who saw the crash, Aldo Ocegueda, ran to grab a car jack, which his brother used to lift the van off the boy while he helped pull the boy away before medical personnel arrived on scene.

“We just jacked the car up," Ocegueda said. "My brother put the car up, and I helped pull the little boy out.”

More: Bystanders mobilize after wreck, lift van off victim

Police say the child did not seem to be seriously hurt but was taken to the hospital as a precaution.

The woman driving the van stayed on the scene and is cooperating with investigators.

Westminster Police say she was cited for careless driving and for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

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