Restaurateur Frank Bonanno's Denver Milk Market will make its public debut with a weekend full of food, freebies and fun

Construction of nearly every kind is stirring up dust inside the vast, sprawling space on the Dairy Block downtown that will soon become Denver Milk Market, a multi-concept market in LoDo that shares some similarities with the Denver Central Market, Zeppelin Station and Avanti Food & Beverage. There's one big difference at Milk Market, though: While the other food halls have gathered multiple independent purveyors under one roof, all sixteen food counters and bars inside this one will be run by chef/restaurateur Frank Bonanno.

Milk Market takes up the quadrant of the Dairy Block closest to the corner of 18th and Wazee streets, connected to the Maven Hotel next door and sided by the Alley at the Dairy Block, where other businesses will share access and patios. While a large doorway opens from the Maven's lobby into the Milk Market (offering an unobstructed view from the market's Moo Bar at one end to Kachina Cantina at the opposite end of the hotel), the market's outdoor seating will be on Wazee Street, not in the Alley itself. Several windows will open onto the Alley, though, allowing customers to walk up and order coffee, ice cream and other food and drink items. And Bonanno will have a separate, Alley-facing pizzeria called the Engine Room that will sell New York-style slices, 22-inch pizzas and Sicilian-style pies baked on rectangular sheet trays.

Inside Milk Market, a high-tech point-of-sale system designed by Toast will make it as easy as possible for guests to shop, eat and drink at the various stations. "We want it to be as seamless as possible, especially for people in the offices around here," Bonanno explains.

Part of the POS system will allow customers to order and pay for food online from any of the vendors and then pick up everything at once. Concierges working from a station near the front entrance of the market will track purchases electronically and gather food into one order for pick-up (and eventually delivery). Customers will also be able to order at any of the counters, while servers will circulate around seating areas to take additional orders, creating a hybrid of fast-casual and full service to meet the needs of guests.

With so many different food-service operations making everything from bao buns to hand-pulled mozzarella to ice cream, Bonanno will double the number of employees under his Bonanno Concepts umbrella by the time the market opens. Milk Market will be far more than a typical food court; customers will be able to grab ready-to-eat foods to take back to their offices or apartments, order something fresh-made to eat at one of 325 seats inside the space (or 65 more outside), or shop for meats, cheeses, pantry items and fresh-made ingredients like pastas and sauces to make a meal at home.

For the full story and more information about Bonanno, the alcohol policy, and how you can take the delicious meals home, visit Westword



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