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Bite Me

Ital Do

There's also been no word -- yet -- from owner/operator Larry Herz as to what led to the Grille's demise. All I know is that it must have come as a shock to some of his staff, because I've heard stories of waitresses and busboys wandering the streets of Cherry Creek last Thursday night in tears, bracing owners and begging for work at those few healthy, established places in the neighborhood that have managed to survive the flood of new joints (North, Elway's, etc.) coming in over the past year.

But while the closure of Go Fish Grille was surprising, it was the opening of Z Cuisine at 2239 West 30th Avenue last week that really blew my mind.

Why? So many reasons... It's a small-scale bistro-slash-catering operation, which spelled instant doom in the past but now is catching on as a business model. The location is on the very edge of Highland, not yet a foodie hot spot. And finally, there's the fact that Z Cuisine is a straight French place, when everyone in town who claims to know what's going on keeps saying that French cuisine in the Mile High est mort, mort, mort. But while it's true that the bulk of the recent news in Denver's Francophile community has been about restaurants closing (Brasserie Rouge), backing off all-Frog menus (Steak au Poivre) or otherwise suffering from a dearth of business, I've always believed that if you put the right kind of place in the right space, the people will come.

And this could be that place. "It's just a little bistro," says owner and chef de cuisine Patrick DuPays, who spends Saturday mornings at the farmers' market in Boulder, picking up supplies like a proper Frenchman, and is currently counting on catering to help pay the bills. "I'm here for my neighbors, yes? I really want to live with these people. I want to know what time they get up, what time they come home from work, how I can be of help to them. I want to be a place you walk to, maybe have a little something to eat and drink. That's what people will do."

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