Whether you’ve been feeling cooped up inside or have been continually enjoying outings in your neighborhood throughout this pandemic, I think we can all agree that the “bright spots” in our daily lives are important. Now more than ever, it’s the simple pleasures that really do matter.

Since launching the housing rehab project at what we like to call the “38th Star House,” located at 2775 W 38th Avenue in Denver, I’ve been checking out the Northside neighborhoods of Potter Highlands and Sunnyside, little by little.

I have to say, this house is really in an unbeatable location for old-school charm mixed with pioneering foodie finds. It’s highly walkable, and full of creative, innovative energy amidst wholly original and historic houses.

Following are a few of my favorite spots, frequented as we tidy the lawn and renovate kitchen and bath spaces.

Leever’s Locavore
2630 West 38th Avenue

Even amidst a pandemic, you need groceries. And especially during a pandemic, many of us rely on a liquor store with curated wine and beer selections. In Northside communities, the solution to these needs is Leever’s Locavore.

It’s the best grocery store, and just down the street from the house I’m rehabbing. It popped up about a year ago. There’s a great deli area. It’s a charming size, not too big, with fantastic selections of locally produced foods and beverages.

Leever’s describes itself as “an innovative grocery store that functions like a food hall.” When the food hall is open, I love the feeling of the sitting area surrounded by 2-3 local restaurants. Sushi, pizza, meats, cheeses, beer. What’s not to love?

They offer monthly hot specials on their website and these are available for carryout. But you might be tempted to stay and shop during their happy hour, offered 3-7pm every day, featuring a Colorado-sourced beer or a glass of wine.

Leever’s carries plenty of Gluten Free foods, and I frequent them often for that reason. I also particularly liked the snack section with interesting lemon cookies and some killer churro marshmallows.

Actually, I’m not sure I should mention the churro marshmallows, given that I literally bought them out last several times I was there. I haven’t checked to see if they’ve restocked yet. At any rate, they’ve got great snacks. You should check them out, too.

The Universal Denver
2911 West 38th Ave. Denver, CO 80211

The next spot I love to recommend to people heading near Sunnyside or Potter/Highlands historic district is The Universal Denver.

It’s just one street over from our renovation and I found it after picking weeds at the house one day. My team and I had worked up an appetite and we headed over to the Universal for brunch.

Let me say this: When you’re hungry in Sunnyside and you’re looking for breakfast, brunch, or lunch, the answer is The Universal. You can get classic egg breakfasts, delicious scrambles, custard toast, pancakes and granola as well as green salads or heartier sandwiches.

Like grits? They literally offer “grits of the day.”

While they aren’t an entirely gluten free kitchen, they do have gluten free pancakes and can specify vegetarian options. It’s good to have options.

But don’t take my word for it. Check out The Universal’s menu and taste for yourself. Take out is available!

Two Great Parks
Just off of Federal Boulevard

Central to the neighborhood are two amazing parks just off Federal Boulevard. Set amidst these delicious local shops and historical homes, the parks provide additional amenities that make these areas great places to live. So if you’re in the area, be sure to check them out.

First, there’s McDonough Park. It’s 4 blocks up Federal Boulevard, heading north from our housing renovation site. It’s a great green space for a picnic, a stroll, or a dog walk. I’ve taken my pooch there many times now.

And of course, the famed Highland Park. This one is located 5 blocks south of the house, also on Federal Boulevard. There you’ll find Highland Park and the Woodbury branch of the Denver Public Library, surrounded by historic homes and buildings. The park features a playground, a basketball court, and lots of open space.

I don’t know you guys, when I finish this renovation, it’s going to be hard to move on. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Northside in an intimate way.