By Joel Warner
By Michael Roberts
By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
Tosh Berman knew that running Donkey Den, which opened just last month at 1109 Lincoln Street, would be a kick. He just didn't know that protesters would kick back, right in his assets. They've lined up outside for the past two weekends, urging customers to boycott a place they claim is named after a Tijuana brothel where women have sex with animals -- "a blatant mockery of sex crimes against women and girls," according to www.boycottdonkeyden.org.
And then there are such Donkey Den menu offerings as "ho-made fries" and a burger dubbed "Donkey Punch," which, as defined by the Encyclopedia of Sex, is when "during doggystyle sexual activity, a man punches his female partner as hard as he can in the back of the skull right before he reaches climax. This causes her to convulse and tighten every cavity."
Thus, boycottdonkeyden.org determines, "a donkey punch is not a sex act, it is violence."
It's a burger, insists Berman -- and a low-carb knockout, at that. "When they called me," he remembers, "and started saying I was using this for some kind of negative vibe to women, even my fiancée, who came up with most items on the menu, thought it was ridiculous.
"Honestly, I understand that they have issues that I called it Donkey Den, but their reasoning is absolutely unfounded," Berman continues. "Basically, the whole concept was to do a very cool, high-end environment with a low price point -- a down-and-dirty supper club." Not that dirty, though: He thought a Tijuana theme was catchy and casual, and a now-defunct taco joint he discovered in Cabo San Lucas provided just the right name. "Donkey Den is fun," he says, "especially with 250,000 cars a day driving down Lincoln."
Which means plenty of people will catch the protesters who'll be out again on Saturday, June 11. And the protesters protesting the protest, who've told Berman they plan to support him. "We're doing exactly what the Denver demographic wants," he concludes.
Not all of that demographic. "We decided it would be a good idea to stand outside and picket, and inform people what they're being sold," says Zoe Williams, an Auraria campus Radical Cheerleader who started the boycott movement after a friend of hers discovered the donkey punch and did some investigating. "I'm at the point right now where I'd like them to change the menu and the name of the restaurant, or just close the doors."
Should the Donkey retreat, Berman has plenty of ideas for other eateries, as well as a series of animal-themed ethnic restaurants that include Holy Cow (Indian) and Screaming Godzilla (Japanese).
Ain't that a kick in the pants?
Follow that cab! Donkey Den didn't make the cut for United Airlines' current celebration of Denver, which includes a 32-page "Insight: Denver" advertorial section in the June issue of Hemispheres. We've gone "from cow town to wow town," the mag proclaims.
You couldn't prove it by the companion video -- Three for the Road With Ian, Jennifer and Michael -- that will be shown to all United passengers flying in to Denver International Airport this month. Mayor John Hickenlooperleads the way with a discussion of downtown, which is followed by short profiles of a handful of restaurants (half chains, half local, and each paying $750 for the privilege of being featured) and Artie the cabbie's tour of local nightspots.
First stop? Manhattan Grill, the eatery at 231 Milwaukee Street that closed last month -- and on Monday officially reopened as Steak Au Poivre. Much better were his picks of Dazzleand the Church, just down from Donkey Den on Lincoln Street (not Avenue, Artie).
Next time Denver is so honored, we hope United -- which accounts for two-thirds of DIA's traffic -- springs for a local fact-checker. (The airline certainly saved enough in union concessions announced the day that the mag and video were unveiled, which made the festivities a lot jollier than they might otherwise have been.) As for Mayor Hick: The arts center on Speer Boulevard is the Denver Performing Arts Complex, not the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (the nonprofit founded by Donald Seawell that uses much of the space). But say, maybe what was just a clever ploy designed to convince Denverites that the names are just too confusing, and to get us to finally accept the facility's dreaded nickname: The Plex.
On the Record
When we saw that The Perfect Man was opening next week, it looked like just another cinematic Twinkie -- delightfully full of air. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) But then we looked a little closer and discovered that this tale of a mother fleeing bad boyfriends and her daughter manufacturing a "perfect man" isn't just a cinematic Twinkie, it's our own Twinkie. The movie is loosely based on the true story of former Littleton residents Heather Robinson and her mom, Jan, who was once married to current Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson. Off Limits contacted Heather to learn how perfectly The Perfect Man captures her life:
Q: How many times did you and your mother flee from bad boyfriends?