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MOUTHING OFF

Calling all restaurateur wannabes: Thornton is looking for a few good eateries to serve its rapidly expanding population. "In 1990 we had around 55,000 residents in Thornton," says Dave Bata, the city's economic-development specialist. "Now we're at well over 60,000." An even more impressive Bata statistic: The average annual income in Thornton is about $37,500--and people are looking to spend some of that money on eats.

"We're not saying we don't have any good restaurants," Bata hastens to add. "We just need a wider variety." Since a Rocky Mountain News article on Thornton's hunger pains appeared a few weeks ago, over a dozen restaurant operations--both large and small--have approached Bata for more information. "I can say that Applebee's, Bennett's Pit BBQ and Country Harvest Buffets are interested," he says. "Those fit into the category that the public is telling me it wants: sit-down, family-style restaurants."

Bata has taken interested parties on a tour of the hottest restaurant real estate in the area, with a heavy focus on the 120th Avenue corridor, particularly the section near I-25, which has a traffic flow of 28,000 cars a day, Bata says. That could translate into big bucks for the right place.

Pearls before wine: Greens Restaurant co-owner Michael Nolting says people continue to visit the old location at 320 East Colfax--even though the restaurant moved to 1469 South Pearl Street (the original home of Sushi Den, which is now just down the street on the corner) over a month ago. When diners do make it to the new place, they may be surprised by the hip-yet-posh decor (quite a contrast to the old Colfax storefront) as well as the almost entirely overhauled menu. Chef Hugh O'Neill has added a number of meat dishes, although most of them are made with a politically correct bent, using such items as free-range chicken and a variety of fish. O'Neill also has been experimenting with Southwestern-style cooking...Still further down the street, at 1585 South Pearl, the Philadelphia Filly has added a "Cheaper By the Dozen" international wine list, with twelve wines for $12; highlights include a 1992 Les Jamelles Merlot, a 1991 Louis Latour Chardonnay Ardeche (a dry wine thankfully as far from California Chardonnays as you can get) and Juame Serra's 1990 Red Penedes (a light, Spanish Pinot Noir-type of red).

Outta here, with a Silver Bullet: A Jumbo draw is the perfect accompaniment for a Wednesday-special order of steak tacos at the Mexico City Lounge at 2115 Larimer Street, but you'll have to settle for Bud; Coors is no longer on tap (although it's available in bottles). And this at the joint where Pete Coors himself once interrupted his lunch to go down in the basement and fix a balky tap...No one wants to talk about it at Chateau Pyrenees, but rumor has it the restaurant is temporarily shutting its doors to accommodate a remodeling job that will tone down the ritzy decor--an acknowledgment of Denver's lack of interest in overblown dining. A spokesperson grudgingly confirmed the restaurant will close July 1, probably for a month or so.

 
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