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Bite Me

Ham on Wry

Makes you wonder how chefs find the time for their own kitchens, doesn't it?

And the trend isn't slowing down, either. The lamb spectacular at J&W was more or less a coming-out party for Jennifer Jasinski, whose Rioja will open in Larimer Square on November 22, and who's also on tap to become the Lamb Board's "Lamb-bassador" -- traveling the countryside spreading the joys of bleating meat to the multitudes. So it's only a matter of time before someone from the Fraternal Order of Fishmongers wises up and asks for my help as the Sturgeon Ambassador, or possibly as Admiral Tuna Belly.

Leftovers: Last week, Sean Kelly picked up the lease on what had been the Two Boys Bakery next door to Somethin' Else (formerly Clair de Lune) at 1313 East Sixth Avenue. "We'll be doing some improvements and stuff over the next couple of months," Kelly says. There won't be big changes until "after the first of the year," by his estimate, and that's cool with me. Just knowing that bigger things are coming for Somethin' Else -- and that Kelly's place is doing enough business to support expansion -- is like an early Christmas present.

Meanwhile, what had been the New York on 17th deli at 837 East 17th Avenue is now an Italian restaurant, Rizaggio's, with the same ownership and cook. Look for new owners and a new cook, as well as an impressive new menu, at Saverino, the Italian restaurant that's taken over the former home of Tiramisu (and, before that, La Coupole), at 2191 Arapahoe Street. Finally, the Rodizio space at 2222 East Arapahoe Avenue in Littleton will become Tropikai, a 10,000-square-foot fine-dining Indonesian restaurant and sushi bar. Brought to us by Steve Moehler of the Above the Rim wine shop and his pal David Yea, former owner of the late Isle of Singapore, Tropikai will upscale the Indo-Balinese cuisine that Isle did so well. According to Moehler, a chef is being brought in from Singapore, and while the liquor license may not be in place until late this year, he and Yea are looking at a late-November opening.

Finally, it's always a blow when a true landmark goes on the block, and last week rumors were flying about the fate of Don's Club Tavern(aka Don's Mixed Drinks), at 723 East Sixth Avenue. Well, I did some sniffing around, and it turns out that Don's is indeed for sale and, come what may, will be changing hands (according to those in the know) sometime around the end of November.

It's been a tough year since Don Aymami -- a Denver native and the heart and soul of the place, even at age 86 -- passed away in January, moving on to that great saloon in the sky. Here on earth, he left behind a loving family and the 57-year-old Don's, a smoky dive that welcomes everyone with open arms -- from the regulars who plant themselves daily on Don's bar stools to the college kids in search of a decent pool table and cheap drinks. "We would love to keep it in the family," one of Don's granddaughters told Westword this past spring, when Don's earned Best Old-Time Bar accolades in the Best of Denver 2004. "He lived and breathed for this place. He lived an amazing life."

But as of next month, the bar will be going out of the family. Several people are reportedly interested in purchasing the place, with the early odds on it going to the owners of Little Ollie's, the upscale Chinese joint at 2364 East Third Avenue. Could our favorite bar soon be a sushi bar?

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