When a group of Golden friends saw that a historic building in their town was in danger of redevelopment, they decided to take matters into their own hands.
Three years and more than $6 million later, The Golden Mill has opened to the public. It’s a food hall with five vendors, a beer hall with more than 50 local brews, and a community center with art and music, plus plenty of other events on tap.
Let’s not forget about the rooftop patio with views over Clear Creek, Table Mountain, Mount Zion and that other Golden landmark, Coors Brewery, too.
If you go
The Golden Mill is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 1012 Ford St. in Golden. Watch for live music, collaborations and other events at thegoldenmill.com.
“We couldn’t just let this get torn down and developed into something for (condo residents) only,” co-owner Susan Ganter said. “We just knew we needed to do something that would be for the community.”
The road to re-opening the mill in its latest form started with a historic designation that Ganter and her co-owners took upon themselves to secure along with the city of Golden. The mill was first established in the 1860s, but what stands of it today is a combination of a 1923 warehouse and a 1985 structure, now joined together with a sleek design where the mill race once stood.
Most recently, the property served as a feed store where Golden residents like Ganter went for their pet food and farm supplies.
“Living here for the last 20, 25 years, we have an appreciation for it,” Ganter said. “It’s overwhelming to some extent, because people are just so excited to be here now. So many people have said, ‘I bought my dog food or horse feed or chickens here.’ ”
On a recent weekday night, as the food hall was getting ready for its grand opening, diners and drinkers milled about between the front patio, the riverside dining area and the open rooftop.
Customers can choose between Mexican snacks like birria gorditas from Tacos al Chile, or rooftop sashimi and poke bowls from Sushi Sora. There’s decadent fried chicken in Nashville, Japanese and Korean preparations from Republik of Chiken, and also barbecue platters piled with baked beans and mac and cheese from Rolling Smoke BBQ.
Finally, there’s New Zealand-style ice cream made with real fruit from Happy Cones.
Neither Ganter nor her partners had any experience running a food hall or restaurant, so they brought in the team behind Stanley Marketplace and Broadway Market as co-owners. Chef Jesusio Silva runs three of The Golden Mill’s food counters, while the ice cream and barbecue shops are independent.
To purchase from all of them (as well as from the self-pour beer wall), you get an easy-pay card at the entrance; you can even skip closing out by selecting a tip amount at the start.
“You can kind of make it what you want,” Ganter said. “There’s a lot of opportunities here.”
As she plans spring events from pop-up retail shops to yoga and pilates classes, Ganter is happy to watch the mill come back to life after years dormant — and especially the last year of fits and starts. She’s spending every day seeing how the space interacts with customers, and vice versa.
One day last week, Ganter stepped out to take a break and missed maybe the most perfect Colorado welcome for the new spot, when a kayaker walked up from the creek — wetsuit, booties and all — to have a quick pint.
“The take-out is right there to the east,” Ganter laughed. “That is exactly what we want.”
And another new rooftop to check out
Want some views closer to home? Odell Brewing just opened its second Denver outpost by Sloan’s Lake. The new 10-barrel brewhouse is spread across two floors with a rooftop patio and a full pizza kitchen. Odell brewer Marni Wahlquist is heading up the pilot brewery where she’ll be experimenting on gluten-free beers and hard kombuchas, in addition to plenty of other styles.
And chef Isaiah Ruffin is incorporating beer into menu items like pretzels and cheese and Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout ice cream. To try out the 16 taps and pies, and take in the rooftop views, head to 1625 Perry St., from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily (10 p.m. weekends); 303-376-3777; odellbrewing.com/locations/sloans-lake-brewhouse.
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