"Just call me a spice merchant," says Mike Johnston when asked about his job title. He moved to Denver to start Savory Spice Shop, a store he and co-owner Janet Chambers opened in the riverfront neighborhood last fall.
The shop's walls are lined with bins and jars holding more than 300 spices, herbs, and seasonings―from ajowan seeds to wasabi powder―freshly ground to order on-site. There are five varieties of peppercorn, four types of cinnamon, and a wall full of curry seasonings. You can smell or taste any spice, then they'll package up just the amount you need. The shop also offers extracts, sauces, and custom spice blends.
Why Denver? "Denver is a city on the rise, and there was a need for a spice shop," Johnston says. "There's an explosion of ethnic food here, most of which requires a wide range of spices. Lots of people go right to the curry wall―I'm constantly restocking it."
Hot on the riverfront Savory Spice Shop (10-7:30 Mon-Sat, 11-5 Sun; 1537 Platte St., Denver; www.savoryspiceshop.com, 888/677-3322, or 303/477-3322)