When Kevin Galaba first arrived in Denver in 2007, the local restaurant landscape was a very different place. A good handful of establishments that would ascend as city favorites were still unopened and few people would consider the municipality a culinary destination. Moreover, the scene was fragmented — at least compared with the integrated community that would congeal over the course of the next decade. Arriving with 10 years of experience working across Minneapolis tables, Galaba felt the absence of a unified network of service workers.
In 2017, he started Friends and Family, though he says “the genesis of the project was much earlier than that.” The nonprofit organization — centered around a Facebook group that provides a well-curated collection of educational programs, work opportunities, notifications of industry events, partnerships and in-house seminar series — was designed to foster collaboration between Colorado’s myriad restaurant employees.
“I wish there was an organization I could have assimilated into when I first got here,” he continued. With stints at Interstate, Euclid Hall, Linger, Jax FishHouse Glendale and Avanti, Galaba became a fixture of Denver dining. His beverage catering company Superdelicious opened in 2016, solidifying his renaissance man approach. Inspired in part by Anthony Bourdain’s vision of an international restaurant public, Galaba hoped to create an association that would act as a “group treasure chest” — inspiring people to participate in bolstering the developing arena both in and beyond work. The group now boasts nearly 2,000 active members.