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Denver's Justin Cucci on Salsa-Making Vegetable Thieves

Welcome to Shit People Steal, in which we ask restaurateurs what items in their restaurant have been (or are frequently) stolen.

Root-Down-Garden.jpgDenver restaurant Root Down is all about seasonal, local ingredients. So much so that chef Justin Cucci (who also recently took over a local mortuary) has his own vegetable garden adjacent to the restaurant that helps. However, all this produce can prove tempting to thieves. Especially thieves with mint-garnished craft cocktails and football snacks to attend to:

We have a few gardens at Root Down that grow an abundance of organic, delicious produce, i.e. herbs, zucchinis, peppers, pumpkins, corn, etc. People love to go shopping at our outdoor garden (It's an urban garden, so I guess it's not a surprise), and often will steal Thai basil, cubanelles and pumpkins. Thievery happens based on season—the more veggies in the garden the more frequent the theft. Lots of mint gets stolen right around happy hour. And lots of cilantro and jalapenos get stolen on football Sundays—presumably for salsa.
People seem to take pockets full at a time, once in a while a whole food bag full, but it seems like there’s lots of snacking. The most popular things to steal are probably mint and tomatoes. They are the biggest "crops" and I think they taunt people as they walk by, they just scream, "I'm delicious, free and versatile. Pick me, pick me!" We're glad we can feed people on more than one level, but hope whoever steals it knows how much love goes into our garden. Hopefully it all goes to good use.

· All Justin Cucci Coverage on Eater [-E-]
· All Shit People Steal Coverage on Eater [-E-]
[Photo: Adam Larkey/Adam Larkey Photography]

Root Down

1600 W 33rd Avenue, Denver, CO