Ganja Gourmet becomes first marijuana restaurant to open
Restaurant operators claim it's first of its kind anywhere
Julie Hayden, reporter KDVR Denver
12:27 PM MST, December 10, 2009
DENVER - A new restaurant on Broadway in downtown Denver claims it is the first of its kind... anywhere. Ganja Gourmet serves food items laced with marijuana. And not just brownies. This place has all kinds of different dishes made with pot sprinkled in.
When voters legalized medical marijuana in Colorado in 2000, it's not certain if this is exactly what they had in mind.
Ganja Gourmet claims to be the first of it's kind, serving up more than just brownies. Dishes include lasagna, gourmet pizza, jambalaya, paella, even chocolate mousse and cheesecakes.
And it's legal.
"Do you have your medical marijuana card, that's the first thing we would ask," said Steve Horowitz of Ganja Gourmet.
That card gets you into Ganja Gourmet. You have to have it to belly up to the "bud" bar, as in marijuana bud. "We'd like them to come sit at the bar and give us their order, bring the food to them," Horowitz said.
Evan is the pastry chef. "When I had my back surgery in 2001 when it (medical marijuana) was offered up to me as an option smoking it wasn't an option so I figured I'd cook with it."
The menu is extensive. "Lasagnas, hummus, and pizzas. But we also serve deserts like cheesecakes and a New York treat we call Almond Horns which are fantastic."
The food laced with marijuana isn't cheap. A brownie is $10. A dozen lemon meringue tartlets cost $120.
Horowitz says he's owned the building at 18th and Broadway that houses Ganja Gourmet for more than 12 years, He used to make those little magnets that real estate agents give out in the building. But that business tanked with the real estate market.
He decided to look into opening a medical marijuana dispensary. "What I discovered they all ran good businesses but they were about getting the patients in, selling the medicine, and getting them out."
With live music, couches, and the bud bar, Horowitz hopes Ganja Gourmet fills a niche. "There were very few places that had a place to chill and meet people and none of them had an emphasis on food."
Medical marijuana patient Don Armstrong thinks the business is a good idea. "I only get out to go to the grocery store or the VA (veterans administration hospital) and this is an opportunity for me to get out and socialize more."