On a sunny spring morning in Denver, people are sitting on the patio at Paris on the Platte. Drinking coffee, chatting, reading- connecting. People connect at Paris; they always have. As I look up and down the street, I see people from all walks of life on the move. Cars attempt to navigate the busy corridor, every parking spot is filled. Platte Street is awash with life. Doors are open to the myriad of businesses that give the energy and unique personality to our neighborhood. My thoughts gently drift back through time. I see the street as it was 30 years ago, a lonely industrial block on the outskirts of downtown. The 16th street viaduct, once tall and gritty, is long gone. Dusty, empty parking spaces everywhere you look, with not a parking meter in sight. I think of Paris as it was in 1986..a nightspot, holding back the shadows as its predecessor, Muddy’s did, holding sway over the night through the seventies…taking over from other coffee houses,- the Sign of the Tarot, and other spots that sprouted up in Denver in the fifties and sixties. Their legacy, as ours, stretches back far into the past, through Europe and the Middle East, to coffee houses that were host to fevered dreams and ideas discussed long into the night.
So much has changed on Platte Street, I sometimes feel like a modern day Rip Van Winkle, awoken from my dream to find the world utterly changed. In 1986 the view from our patio was the growing skyline of downtown. Sprinkled up and down the street were empty lots and failing warehouses, home to businesses of the past and artists building the future. Alas, most of it gone now, given way to the contemporary urban beat of a city on the move. Some change has been subtle, some not so. As I awake from my reverie, I feel the pulse, and I know I have been here through it all.
“Isn’t business better now?” is a question I get asked a lot.
Better…well, it’s hard to say. Different, oh yes. In our earliest days we opened at 7pm and closed at 4am. We were hard to find, a destination, and our regulars liked it that way. Many were young- artists, musicians, creative, individualistic, all needing a place to find themselves. Day business was an afterthought. No wi-fi, no lap tops.
As Platte Street grew we opened for lunch, and eventually, breakfast. What was once a destination spot gave way to a bustling neighborhood venue. Along the way, we have subtracted the bookstore and smoking, but added the wine bar, live music, and a home for our story tellers, The Narrators. We have expanded our menu while keeping our coffee and tea drinks fresh and imaginative. We are very proud of our coffee, roasted fresh weekly, imported directly from the Sinay Neves plantation in Brazil. The chai is our own blend, brewed in our kitchen daily, the spices ground by our neighbor Savory Spice Shop. We now have our own wine label, featuring all Colorado grown grapes
As in all of life, change is inevitable, and we have changed. But Paris is still, at its heart, the same place it has always been—a place to connect. I hope you will join with me, connecting with Parisites, past and present, as together we continue to write the story of this wonderful coffee house, café and bar.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a part of it all.