By Jonathan Shikes
By Alex Brown
By Cafe Society
By Samantha Alviani
By Lori Midson
By Mark Antonation
By Loren Lorenzo
By Nate Hemmert
What's in a name?The fact that Denver already had a Keg -- Ron and Dan's Keg Lounge, a classic dive at 1851 West 38th Avenue, was apparently no obstacle to the Canada-based chain opening a Keg Steakhouse & Bar in town (see story above). And truthfully, there's not much similarity between the two -- although both give drinkers their due.
Nor did the Hard Rock Cafe chain hesitate to set up an outpost at the Denver Pavilions (500 16th Street) several years ago -- even though the mountain town of Empire, an hour's drive up I-70, has boasted a modest eatery named the Hard Rock Cafe for decades. Although that Hard Rock closed after a fire damaged the century-old building, which is owned by the Town of Empire, the structure has since been repaired, and Empire hopes to soon reopen its Hard Rock restaurant under a new management team.
In the meantime, Empire officials continue to ignore the occasional threatening letter sent from corporate Hard Rock headquarters.
14065 W. Colfax Drive
Golden, CO 80401
Region: West Denver Suburbs
The recent closing of the Old Country Restaurant(134 Union Boulevard, Lakewood) could help another chain that's been caught between a rock and a hard place for years. When what's known as the Old Country Buffet in other states entered Colorado, with at least eight outlets in the metro area alone, it called itself Country Buffetto avoid any trademark issues.
Bonanza! Red-meat-loving Barry Feywill probably never set foot inside the Blue Sky Grill (1000 Chopper Circle), the expansive, Western-themed eatery that turned a few Pepsi Center offices into a replica of the Ponderosa. That's because the restaurant is owned by a competitor: Ranch-life-loving Stan Kroenke's Kroenke Sports has partnered with Clear Channel not just in booking concerts at the Pepsi Center, but also at CityLights Pavilion, the tented outdoor concert venue in the facility's parking lot.
But snubbing the place is Fey's loss. Now open every night for dinner -- whether or not there are events at the Pepsi Center -- Blue Sky grills up hearty, meaty fare. Chef Leo Dominguez (what, you were expecting Hop Sing?) offers excellent burgers, salads, even elk quesadillas. But the real prize is the tender, flavorful buffalo ribeye that arrives on the bone -- a bone so long that you feel like Fred Flintstone as you wave it around.
Hey, Barry: If you can't beat 'em, eat 'em.
Blocks away from the Pepsi Center, the patio outside of the Keg (the LoDo Keg, not the 38th Avenue Keg), affords an excellent view of the former home of Anita's Crab Shack (and, before that, Cucina!Cucina!), still empty at the Icehouse (1801 Wynkoop Street). Also empty is the spot once occupied by DeLorenzo's Deli, the market that had been operated by the folks behind Sevilla and sold a great roasted chicken. But while the market didn't move with Sevilla to its new location at the Denver Pavilions (500 16th Street) this past February, DeLorenzo's Delicacy Shopnow offers catering and delivery deals out of Sevilla, including a $6.95 Italian Specialty Menu at lunch. Hmm, must be a coincidence that Maggiano's Little Italy, also located in the Pavilions, is touting its new downtown lunch-delivery service.
Shirt story: The bar at Dave & Buster's (1940 South Colorado Boulevard) isn't exactly your average neighborhood watering hole -- but it's a pleasant place to imbibe a few beverages after a movie. Particularly if you're properly dressed.
Last Wednesday night, just as one fellow at the bar was about to bite into his burger, a D&B employee came up and politely pointed out that he was in violation of the dress code. Was it his skull-patterned bandanna? His Colorado Avalanche tattoo? No -- but the fact that the large tattoo was clearly visible on his upper arm was definitely a problem, since under D&B's "gentleman's dress code policy," all male patrons "must have sleeves."
The policy is essentially designed to prohibit muscle shirts -- especially on men who have no muscles, but plenty of untidy flesh they'd be flashing to other patrons as they raised their arms to push buttons and pull levers on D&B's numerous games. In keeping with D&B's eatertainment emphasis, though, the employees are pretty sporting about violations. When a man who's not in compliance with the policy walks in, says manager Jill Maertens, D&B's offers him a free shirt to wear for the duration.
And certainly our bar buddy took no offense, even though his sleeveless T-shirt had escaped notice long enough for him to reach the bar and order that burger.
But then, maybe he wanted to make sure he'd be welcomed back for Dave & Buster's new Sunday-brunch lineup, introduced a month ago at both the southeast Denver and Westminster (10667 Westminster Boulevard) addresses. The à la carte brunch, which runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., features not only four types of eggs Benedict and numerous omelettes, but an impressive Bloody Mary deal, as well. Just $3.10 buys you a glass filled with ice and the house vodka -- and a trip to the dining room's Bloody Mary bar, where you can add V-8 or tomato juice, along with an assortment of spices, olives, celery and just about anything else you can imagine from the "veggie bar," Maertens says.