I live in Lakewood now. Its a nice place. If you guys want to be in the "cool" area of Lakewood, try to get near Belmar (Alameda and Wadsworth). That's probably the PF Changs your buddy is transferring to, because I don't know of another one in Lakewood (there is one right downtown off of 15th and Larimer or around there).
Federal and 6th is not Lakewood - it is still Denver, and it is a very Spanish speaking area. Lakewood starts at Sheridan and goes West from there.
I moved here from the Detroit metro area and there aren't too many parts of Denver that are even close to Detroit in regards to safety. I agree with the concept that you want to be as far away from Colfax as possible.
In regards to riding - not sure what you're schedules will be, but weekend traffic blows coming from the Denver metro area up i70. So be prepared for that. If you can get a bank job... try to get one up in the mountains.