New Denver grocery store Leevers Local lets you sip booze while shopping for local goods

A new grocery store for Denver’s Highland and Sunnyside neighborhoods sells produce and meat, naturally, but also wine by the glass for customers to sip while they shop.

Leevers Locavore Northside opened on Thursday at 38th Avenue and Clay Street with a full grocery selection, plus three restaurants, a craft coffee, beer and wine bar and a local butcher shop.

The restaurants — more like stalls — sell pizza, sushi, sandwiches and charcuterie. The latter come from Culture Meat & Cheese, which is based at Denver Central Market.

From the substantial bar, customers can purchase drinks to sip on and store in shopping cart cup-holders while they browse. Before all of this starts to sound more like the next food hall experience than that of a supermarket, Leevers Locavore vice president Chris Franklin says not to worry.

Before opening, he and his team surveyed 1,200 community members to see what the neighborhood wanted in a grocery store. The resounding response: “Just a grocery store,” Franklin said.

Brothers Chris and John Leevers are experienced in big-box stores; they also own Colorado’s Save-A-Lots as well as Colorado Ranch Market, and they operate Leevers Foods stores in North Dakota. But Leevers Locavore, which is employee-owned, is the first of its kind in Denver. They have an opportunity to create a new niche in their company’s home market, and their plan is to open more Locavores around Denver, Franklin said.

“Aside from little markets, there aren’t new grocery stores opening up,” he said.

By offering locally sourced products, selling beer and wine and providing bar and table seating for people to hold meetings or sit and work, Franklin hopes Leevers will also act as a “community hub,” even though “(a grocery store) is not typically something people get excited about,” he said.

But the grocer’s offerings, reminiscent of bigger brands like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Sprouts, also set it apart.

Carly DeFilippo, Provided by Leevers Locavore

Shopping carts with cup holders for your beer or wine at Leevers Locavore, which opened Thursday on W. 38th Ave.

Denver chef Justin Brunson runs the large River Bear American Meats counter, selling “sustainable, affordable and responsible” cuts, he said, of chicken, pork, lamb, beef and turkey for as little as $2.99-$3.99 per pound. He’s also selling deli meats, sausages, spices and rubs.

Shoppers will find other Front Range brands such as MouCo Cheese and Denver-made chips. And they can buy Denver-based Tigerlily plants and succulents alongside arrangements from Buckley House of Flowers. And of course, there are the basics — milk, eggs, trash bags, Petchup and Muttstard, bread.

“The neighborhood still needs a grocery store,” Franklin said, “so we try to not lose sight of that.”

2630 W 38th Ave., 303-433-4405, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. daily, leeverslocavore.com

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter, In The Know, to get entertainment news sent straight to your inbox.