There are plenty of pot cafes out there, including one in Oregon
, but until the Ganja Gourmet came to Denver
last month, the world was without a sit-down marijuana restaurant.
Steve Horowitz's eatery opened just after Thanksgiving
on what the businessman terms "Reefer Row," a block featuring eight different weed dispensaries.
It all started when the real estate market collapsed last year. Horowitz had been making and selling fridge magnets for realtors
, but when bankruptcy loomed, he decided to get into marijuana.
"Once I started checking out dispensaries, I realized no one was specializing in edibles. I love to eat marijuana -- it's a much better buzz, it's a much different buzz, a more alert buzz. And I'm a restaurant connoisseur, so I decided to get a license and open up and have the best edibles around."
Horowitz has developed an extensive menu of marijuana-based munchies, ranging from lasagna to jambalaya, with a $12 white sauce panama red pizza, the "green" green salad at $7, $4 for the chocolate peanut butter cookies, or $8 if you just want a simple pre-rolled joint to puff with your pastry.
But all this reefer madness isn't creating a wild, nightclub-like atmosphere or anything, as Horowitz explains: "Our main objective is not to create a party restaurant, but to improve our patients' lives," he says. "That's why we've opened up this fun, social place where they can meet other people with ailments."
He adds there is even a financial aid program in place through which Ganja Gourmet can provide for people with disabilities and veterans.
With an estimated 65,000 medical marijuana licensees in Colorado
, you would think there would be pandemonium at the most exciting establishment on Reefer Row, particularly since Ganja Gourmet stays open until 9 p.m., two hours after the dispensaries close up. Not quite, says Horowitz: "They're not banging the door down yet. There may be 10 to 15 people a day at this point -- it's not mind-blowing."
At least the food will be.