Skip to main content

Colorado Restaurant & Bar Show

Returning to the Colorado Convention Center April 2-3, 2024!

Connect, Explore, Discover — The CRB Show delivers the tools, resources, and ideas that chefs, managers, owners, and operators need to maintain their competitive edge in our ever-crowded marketplace. This two-day trade show will feature over 130+ exhibitors – from the national heavy hitters to local up-and-coming businesses – and include four can’t-miss educational sessions to help you keep your business on the cutting edge.

Hotel Information:

The Slate Denver
1250 Welton St, Denver, CO 80204
(303) 292-5000
Discount booking

2024 Colorado Restaurant & Bar Show Schedule | Mile High Ballroom, Colorado Convention Center

Tuesday, April 2

10 AM – 4 PM

Exhibit Hall Open to Attendees

11 AM – 3 PM

Vendor Demonstrations (Center of the Plate)

11 AM – 4 PM

Educational Sessions

11 a.m. – 12 p.m.: “Engage & Retain: Innovative Wage Models That Work”

Labor is still the name of the game for running a successful restaurant. This session will explore the art of creating a wage model that prioritizes employee satisfaction with advice from experienced industry leaders. Delve into strategies for building trust, navigating tipping and service charges, and ensuring compliance with legal requirements. You’ll leave with tactical tips for engaging your employees and creating a sustainable wage model that keeps your team happy and motivated.

Panelists include Erasmo Casiano, owner of Lucina Eatery & Bar in Park Hill, Denver; Brenda Lucio, owner of Lucio Concepts across Northern Colorado and Denver; Anthony Lygizos, co-founder of Leven Deli Co. in Denver; and Delores Tronco, owner of The Greenwich, also in Denver. Award-winning journalist and editor Amanda M. Faison will moderate.

2:30 – 4 p.m.: “Ready for It? Labor Law Changes for 2024”

Todd Fredrickson, Fisher Phillips LLP

Stay ahead of the curve on labor and employment laws impacting Colorado restaurants thanks to expert Todd Fredrickson, a trusted partner at Fisher Phillips. This will be an essential session with details on the latest legal developments affecting Colorado restaurants right now — and down the road. Hear practical insights on navigating the newest COMPS Order, the POWR Act, and other upcoming legislation that will impact how you run your restaurant. Don’t miss this opportunity to receive personalized advice for your business and ensure you’re in compliance in Colorado’s ever-changing legal landscape.

3 PM

Beverage Break (Center of the Plate stage)

4 PM

Exhibit Hall Closes

4 PM – 5 PM

Small Donor Committee Reception
A networking reception benefiting the advocacy work that the CRA does on behalf of Colorado restaurants at all levels of government.

Wednesday, April 3

10 AM – 4 PM

Exhibit Hall Open to Attendees

11 AM – 3 PM

Vendor Demonstrations (Center of the Plate)

11 AM –  3 PM

Educational Sessions

11 a.m. – 12 p.m.: “2024 Vision: Planning for the Future of the Restaurant Industry”

B. Hudson Riehle, Senior Vice President, Research & Knowledge Group at the National Restaurant Association

Peer into the data-driven crystal ball of industry pro Hudson Riehle, SVP of the Research and Knowledge Group at the National Restaurant Association, as he presents an enlightening session on what’s to come in the restaurant industry. With a wealth of experience directing research and serving as a spokesperson for the hospitality sector, Hudson brings unparalleled insights into the industry’s current state and outlook. Explore sales and growth projections, trends, and challenges such as rising costs and persistent recruitment issues. Gain actionable insights to capitalize on opportunities in today’s dynamic restaurant landscape and navigate your business through the years to come.

2 – 3 p.m.: “Why Apprenticeship: Unlocking the Power of Development”

Discover why the Colorado Restaurant Foundation’s apprenticeship programs are an accessible, approachable cornerstone in fostering talent and skills development within your business. Our expert panel of industry operators will share the unique advantages that apprenticeships offer in shaping individuals into industry-ready professionals – and just how easy the CRF makes it to incorporate apprenticeship into your team training and retention program. Whether you’re an employer seeking to enrich and retain your workforce or an individual exploring hospitality-career pathways, this session will reveal the compelling reasons why hundreds of Colorado restaurants and hotels are turning to apprenticeship programs to upskill and motivate their teams.

Panelists include Michael Klicos, Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center in Aurora; Elizabeth Nicholson, Chook in Denver; Peter Ryan, The Plimoth in Denver; moderated by Stacy Griest, Colorado Restaurant Foundation.

3 PM

Beverage Break (Center of the Plate)

4 PM

Exhibit Hall Closes

Speaker Glossary

Erasmo CasianoOwner of Lucina Eatery & Bar in Park Hill, Denver and Create Kitchen & Bar cooking school in Aurora

Erasmo “Ras” Casiano started his culinary career at the early age of 15. He attended Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island in 2005 and transferred to and graduated from the Denver Campus in 2007.

Ras’ mother, Santa Lucina (Lucy), is the inspiration and motivation behind his career in food and beverage, even naming his new restaurant, Lucina, after her. In his family, everybody cooks. Weekends at home came with an open-door policy, encouraging spontaneous neighborhood dinner parties. Their house was constantly filled with family, friends, food, and music. Through his Mexican upbringing with tamales, sopes, and fideo, Ras brings spice and comfort to everything he touches. Ras actively continues his education through his travels around the globe, refining his culinary style. His dream is to recreate and share his past experiences at Lucina in Denver’s Park Hill community.

Amanda M. FaisonAward-winning journalist and editor

Amanda M. Faison has chased stories about food and restaurant culture for more than two decades. In addition to freelance writing and editing, Faison was the longtime food editor of 5280. She has published stories in national titles such as Food & Wine, Outside, Sunset, Elle Decor, and Travel & Leisure. Her ranch-to-plate feature, “Soul Food,” was anthologized in Best Food Writing 2010. She has also edited four cookbooks and has twice judged the James Beard Foundation’s annual cookbook awards.

Todd FredricksonAttorney at Law, Fisher Phillips LLP

Todd is a CRA Legal Resource Center partner and one of a small number of Denver labor attorneys who practice traditional labor law, representing employers in union campaigns, contract negotiations, grievance arbitrations and unfair labor practice charges. He also tries employment cases before juries, judges, and arbitrators. His practice involves representing employers in various matters arising under such laws as Title VII, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), and Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA).

Todd regularly counsels clients on a spectrum of personnel management issues, with the goal of avoiding litigation. To that end, he advises employers on developing and enforcing proper policies, employee handbooks, and employment and compensation agreements. Todd also counsels employers on compliance with federal and state wage and hour laws. Much of his practice focuses on training supervisors, managers, and other employees on such issues as sexual harassment, discrimination, employee discipline and discharge, and investigation of employee grievances.

Stacy Griest

Stacy Griest – Programs Director, Colorado Restaurant Foundation

Stacy, a Colorado native, began her journey in the food industry at 14, bussing tables in Aurora. With over 25 years of experience, she has worked with top chefs and restaurateurs from San Francisco to Denver. In 2010, she transitioned to higher education, becoming a professor at Johnson & Wales University. Stacy’s career is rooted in food and community, now as Programs Manager at the Colorado Restaurant Foundation, where she helps others enter an industry she loves. Stacy holds a degree in Hospitality Management from Metropolitan State College of Denver and an MBA from Johnson & Wales University.

After a decade in San Francisco, managing restaurants from fast-casual to fine dining, Stacy returned to Colorado in 2008. She joined Crafted Concepts, led by Jennifer Jasinski and Beth Gruitch, as a key team member. In 2005, she entered the nonprofit sector, balancing her love for food and community by joining the San Francisco Food Bank as HR and Office Manager. Stacy lives in Denver with her husband, son, and their English bulldog, enjoying family time, travel, gardening, and reading.

Michael KlicosExecutive Sous-Chef at the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center in Aurora

With over a decade of culinary experience, chef Michael has honed his skills as a chef, specializing in creating memorable dining experiences. His passion lies not only in crafting exquisite dishes but also in nurturing the well-being of those in the hospitality industry, advocating for a culture of care and support. Dedicated to fostering a positive environment, Michael prioritizes the welfare of both his team and his guests, believing that genuine hospitality starts with taking care of people.

Brenda LucioCo-Owner of Lucio Concepts across Northern Colorado and Denver

Brenda Lucio began her career in the restaurant industry at age 19 as a hostess and steadily advanced through various roles in the industry. Her success led to a promotion to Regional Management at 27, setting the stage for her subsequent success with Lucio Concepts alongside her husband.

In 1999, the duo launched their first concept, Coyote’s Southwestern Grill in Greeley. This was followed by Palomino Mexican Restaurant in 2005, with another location in Loveland in 2011. Blue Agave Grill, their third concept, opened in Fort Collins in 2014, with a Denver location following in 2016. Their fourth concept, Vato’s Tacos & Tequila, offers a fast-casual experience, with locations in Old Town Fort Collins, Loveland, Sloans Lake, and a new opening in Westminster in late April.

As the Director of Operations, she oversees a team of 420 employees, with an additional 60 being hired for the Westminster location. Together with her husband, they have cultivated a culture of excellence and growth, providing opportunities for their team to thrive.

Anthony LygizosCo-Owner of Leven Deli Co. in Denver

Born from a love of Jewish deli-style sandwiches and the fast-paced, collaborative environment of the hospitality industry, Anthony Lygizos founded Leven with the intention of creating a valuable community asset for team members and guests alike.

Anthony was bit by the hospitality bug and obtained a BSBA in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management from University of Denver in 2008. Post-graduation, Lygizos landed at the famed Little Nell in Aspen, where he honed his skills in the food and beverage manager in training program. After that, Lygizos worked at bb’s kitchen, where he learned the entrepreneurial side of the business, building the restaurant from the ground up, from writing the business plan to hiring and building. After the success of bb’s Kitchen, Lygizos worked for Paradise Bakery helping to revamp the business. Lygizos then relocated to Denver with dreams of opening his own restaurant one day. He obtained his level two Sommelier certification and served as wine buyer and assistant manager at lauded Denver dining institution Potager and general manager of Ace Eat Serve.

Lygizos’ people-centric vision and unwavering commitment to providing best-in-class living wages and quality of life for front- and back-of-house staff continue to be the central pillars of his business model.

Elizabeth Nicholson – CEO, Chook 

Elizabeth Nicholson is the CEO of Chook, a neighborhood eatery with multiple locations in the Denver/Metro Area specializing in rotisserie chicken and veg. As the only restaurant in Denver that is a certified B Corporation, Elizabeth focuses on industry initiatives that center around the triple bottom line; people, planet, and profit. Elizabeth currently sits on the Colorado Restaurant Foundation Board, advocating for the Apprenticeship program. A Denver native, she enjoys all that Colorado has to offer including its vibrant restaurant community.

B. Hudson RiehleSenior Vice President, Research & Knowledge Group at the National Restaurant Association

Hudson Riehle directs the National Restaurant Association’s consumer, economic, technology, market, human resources, tourism, and operations research as well as oversees its extensive knowledge center activities. Frequently cited by major national and international news organizations and appearing on national television broadcasts, he has authored a variety of articles and serves as an information source and spokesperson for the restaurant and hospitality industry. Hudson received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Skidmore College in New York and his Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Appointed by the Secretary of Labor, he has been a member of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Business Research Advisory Council; a former Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Alexandria (VA) Convention and Visitors Association; a member of the Center for Food Integrity Consumer Research Advisory Panel and the Wharton Executive Advisory Panel; and is currently included in the current edition of Who’s Who in America.

Peter RyanOwner of The Plimoth in Denver

Born and raised in the restaurant’s namesake, Chef Pete “pounded pans” on the East and West coasts for more than a dozen years. He’s been in Denver since 1999, when he joined the faculty at Cook Street School of Culinary Arts, working closely under the tutelage of Chef Michael Comstedt, CEC, CCE. Chef Pete’s modern yet casual approach to classical French dishes has garnered the attention of his contemporaries. He earned a nomination for Rising Chef of the Year from Denver Magazine during his time as Chef at Z Cuisine, and has helped train some of Denver’s best cooks and culinary entrepreneurs as the Executive Chef Instructor at Cook Street School of Culinary Arts. There, Chef Pete helped shape the ever-changing face of culinary design, implementation and enhancement in kitchens throughout Denver. He credits his many adventures abroad for enhancing his appreciation and knowledge of regional food cookery and culinary arts.

Certifications: Chef de Cuisine, The American Culinary Federation; Certified Sommelier and Certified Chef of Wine Arts, International Wine Guild; International Sommelier Guild, Levels I and II; Foundations of Meat Fabrication, Rocky Mountain Institute of Meat.

Delores TroncoOwner of The Greenwich in Denver

After leaving Denver in 2016 to open The Banty Rooster in New York City’s West Village, Delores Tronco returned west to open The Greenwich with over 18 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Prior to The Greenwich, Tronco held various leadership roles, including Founder/CEO of the nationally acclaimed Work & Class, her first restaurant in Denver, and Founder/Director of beloved Denver pop-up The Justice League of Street Food.

As an established restaurateur, Tronco is committed to creating a restaurant that is a living, breathing incarnation of everything she cares deeply for: hospitality, excellence in craft, leadership with integrity, and the people who make great restaurants the special places they are.

Tronco’s success is evidenced by a laundry list of awards and press, including three James Beard nominations, coveted spots on the 2014 list for both Zagat and Thrillist’s Best New Restaurants in America, and winning the Colorado Restaurant Association’s prestigious Newcomer of the Year Award 2014. Tronco was also named Colorado’s Thinker of the Year in Hospitality by the Denver Post in 2013.

Hotel & Parking Information


The Slate Hotel
1250 Welton St
Denver, CO 80204
(303) 292-5000
Discount booking

For specific directions on how to get to the Colorado Convention Center Parking Garage, please enter your starting address here and a map and directions will populate. Please be sure to include your full address, city, state and zip.

North-Bound Speer Directions

  • Driving via North-bound Speer Boulevard, pass Stout Street and make your first right before Champa Street. The Convention Center Parking Garage has its own designated Right Turn lane leading into the parking garage. The Parking Garage is designated by the Downtown Denver Parking logo. Please visit the following link to see the designated Downtown Denver Parking Logo.

West-Bound Champa Directions

  • Driving via West-bound Champa Street, just before Speer Boulevard, it will be a left-hand turn from Champa Street that merges into the garage entry drive lane from Speer Boulevard. Please use caution when yielding to traffic entering the garage from Speer Boulevard. The Parking Garage is designated by the Downtown Denver Parking logo.

Learn more about parking options at the Colorado Convention Center.

The Colorado Restaurant & Bar Show is a 21-and-over event. No pets allowed.
Kelsey Berglund

Have questions about the CRB Show?

Call or email Kelsey Berglund, Events and Sponsorship Director, Colorado Restaurant Association

Click to email  Click to call, x 117

Don’t miss out on deals and insider info for the Denver Food + Wine Festival!

Subscribe to the Colorado Restaurant Foundation (CRF) Party List to get the scoop on all CRF events, including access to discounted tickets!

By filling out this form, you agree to receive marketing emails and texts from the Colorado Restaurant Association & Foundation. You’ll get insider info about our events, special offers, and a whole lot more! You can unsubscribe at any time, we promise.