Bite Me

The Write Stuff

All five of Walter's choices -- and her reviews of them -- are on the Web at Log on and see how Denver stacks up against other cities in the Essential Eateries category.

Quick, everyone on the bandwagon! Okay, so I've already mentioned that Larry Herz, who will soon open a restaurant (tentatively called Indigo) in the former Papillon Cafe space at 250 Josephine Street, will be accepting those unredeemed Papillon gift certificates that so many of you got stuck with after the abrupt closing of Radek Cerny's restaurant (Bite Me, October 10). Herz decided to take them at fifty cents on the dollar as a goodwill gesture to Denver foodies left in the lurch, and other restaurateurs must have thought that was a pretty good idea, because now Gabriel's (5450 West Highway 67, Sedalia) will be accepting them, too. Anyone left holding a certificate can redeem it -- for full price -- at Gabriel's through the end of November. The sudden closing of Papillon "left a bad taste in my mouth," explains owner Mathew Bundy. "Mostly I wanted to do this just to take care of those people left out in the cold."

Closed Location

The downtown Broker (821 17th Street) is also accepting Papillon gift certificates through the beginning of December (not the end, as has been reported elsewhere). As a matter of fact, the Broker is taking gift certificates (specific dollar amounts only) from any place that's closed recently. Papillon, Gussie's, Sacre's been a rough season for the industry, and "people feel taken advantage of when they buy a gift certificate for cash and then the restaurant closes," says Broker manager Laura Bloss. Broker owner Ed Novak and general manager Jerry Fritzler both feel that the restaurant business should be more responsible for its image, she adds, so they're committed to taking care of customers who might otherwise have nowhere to go.

Leftovers: Since the day Prohibition ended in 1933, Monaghan's Tavern (3889 South King Street, Sheridan) has been slapping down the suds in a building that dates back to 1892. It claims to have the oldest continuously operating liquor license in the state of Colorado, and bullet holes in the ceiling lend historical credence to its reputation as a rootin'-tootin', ceiling-shootin' Wild West burgers 'n' beer kind of joint.

But now Matt Landy, who bought Monaghan's in August, has decided to move it into the 21st century, so he's transforming the saloon into Freestyles Music and Sports Grill. Just a suggestion: Before you go through with this, Matt, why not call the guy who thought it would be a good idea to turn that classic Wild West burgers 'n' beer joint, the Punch Bowl (2052 Stout Street), into the Punch Bowl Baja Bistro a couple years back? Then again, it might be tough to find him: The place was such a disaster that he's probably in hiding. For the record, the spot's been sold and is now the Stout Pub.

Chef Christopher Cina is shaking things up at Tuscany at the Loews Denver. He's changing the direction of the menu to a more Mediterranean feel, dropping the prices drastically (like 30 to 40 percent), and brightening up the rather drab dining room with new colors and table settings. Want to have a look? Tuscany is doing a Beaujolais-release tasting on November 21, with four courses and wine for $45. For information and reservations, call 303-782-9300.

Papa Keno's will open its second location (the first is at 827 Colorado Boulevard) sometime around November 1, at 1530 Blake Street. That's right next to the Lemon Sisters market -- and a block away from both the Wazee Supper Club (1600 15th Street) and Two-Fisted Mario's (1626 Market Street), two LoDo spots famous for their pizzas and late hours. Let the pie fights begin! Maggiano's Little Italy is continuing its march toward world domination with the Halloween opening of another link in the chain at 7401 South Clinton Street in Englewood.

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