DENVER (CBS4) – The growing trend of food halls across the country, one location with several food options under the same roof, keeps bringing new options to the Denver metro area. This week, the Denver Milk Market will highlight the concept for the first time during Denver Restaurant Week.

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“For the Milk Market our self, we’re unique in Denver because we’re all operated by Bonanno Concepts,” said Benjamin Vaughn, the assistant general manager of the market. “We can really make this our own, make it an entire experience for people to enjoy.”

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The idea of a food hall could be compared to a food court at a mall but usually standalone in a separate building and try to compete with individual restaurants by offering a similar level of quality food. In most cases, food halls are a partnership of several separate businesses each operating their own stall.

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But the Denver Milk Market owns each of the stalls and can make sure they complement each other with little overlap. Bonanno Concepts owns several restaurants in the city and brings that experience to the concept. Vaughn worked for one of them, Bones, before coming to the hall.

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“There’s a lot of synergy with what happens from a menu standpoint, from a design point,” he said.

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LINK: Menus for Denver Restaurant Week

Another advantage of the food hall concept is the flexibility. Diners can choose what they want once they arrive and do not have to worry about seating in advance. But the Denver Milk Market, less than a year old, will join Denver Restaurant Week this year as the first ever food hall to be a part of the annual event. For Restaurant Week, it will take reservations and sell diners a $25 gift card they can use at eight of the dozen stalls inside the hall.

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“There’s going to be a lot of variety, there’s going to be a lot of choices, it’s really going to showcase what we can do from a culinary standpoint,” Vaughn said.

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Lindsie Haggerty manages the Instagram account Best Eats Denver and says she included the Milk Market in her Restaurant Week plans because of the choice.

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“I love Denver Restaurant Week because it gives you the opportunity to try so many new places that you haven’t been able to try in the past,” she said. “I do plan on coming to the Denver Milk Market during Denver Restaurant Week.”

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Her week will be busy with meals scheduled with family and friends throughout the event. She chose the food hall concept for a meal where she knew the others at the table would want more variety.

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“I want, you know, everyone to have the opportunity to choose something they want whether it be American, Italian, or whatever, there’s a little bit of everything,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to try something new, if you’ve heard a restaurant raved about for a couple of months, go check it out.”

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Denver Milk Market opened in June 2018 and in less than a year has already looked to events like Restaurant Week to help it stand out. Located at 1800 Wazee Street, near Coors Field, it hopes to become a regular destination for baseball fans during Rockies games.

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Denver Restaurant Week celebrates Denver’s growing culinary scene. In 2017, 245 restaurants opened in the city, making it one of the most exciting dining scenes in the country.

Shawn Chitnis

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