By Jamie Swinnerton
By Mark Antonation
By Lori Midson
By Jonathan Shikes
By Amber Taufen
By Cafe Society
By Juliet Wittman
By Jonathan Shikes
Also sold last week was the former B-52 space at 1920 Market Street, most recently home to MTV's The Real World: Denver. The buyers -- at $3.3 million -- were Steve and Shane Alexander, a father-and-son real-estate team. And after watching the first episode of the show, I'd highly suggest the Alexanders go through that place with a black light: There were more fluids spilled on that set than on hot-soup night at the Parkinson's Disease Research Center. Until the place is hosed down, I wouldn't walk through the door without a haz-mat suit and penicillin on an IV drip.
The Alexanders plan to put an urban lounge, upscale bistro and offices in the space. Josh Haakinson, an investor who's pulling flack duty for the group, offered more details. Opening sometime around June, the lounge will be called The Abbey and will be wholly owned by the Alexander Group. "We're hoping for a mix of Swimclub and Forest Room 5," he explained. "Definitely not another sports bar. Denver already has enough of those." He described it as a place where people could come in and either "drink Coors Light or Cristal." The Abbey will also make use of a lot of the original furniture and decor from the Real World shoot -- all of which came with the purchase price -- which Haakinson said is perfect for the group's concept. But he also assured me that everything had been professionally steam-cleaned. As a matter of fact, he made that very clear.
The Alexander Group is still looking at build-out plans and hunting for a local restaurant operator to move into the "bistro" portion of the building. The second floor will be used as offices and has already been picked up by someone big and well-known, but Haakinson wouldn't say more. And sometime in the future, they plan to add another floor, which will become lofts.
Leftovers:Sadly, Vietnam House -- the combination Vietnamese restaurant and nightclub where I was both entertained and (briefly) violated a few months ago ("Elvis Lives," September 28) -- has closed. I have no solid intel on what finally put it down, but if I had to guess? I'd say it had something to do with the fact that Vietnam House had space for more than 200 on the floor and I rarely saw more than twenty people seated there. I miss the place already.
The new incarnation of WaterCourse Foods has opened at 837 East 17th Avenue -- in the former home of New York on 17th. That clears the way for owner Dan Landes's new joint, City O' City, to take over WaterCourse's old home on 13th Avenue in the new year.
Chef Alex Gurevich sends word that his five-month-old Limon (1618 East 17th Avenue) is now open for lunch. Novoandino food at midday? Just a couple doors down from Parallel Seventeen, one of my favorite nouvelle French/Vietnamese restaurants? Another reason to love this town.
Diana's Greek Market and Deli, at 1035 Lincoln Street, has been sold. Because of family obligations (among other things, the daughter of owners Vic and Diana Katopodis broke her leg falling down some stairs), the Katopodises decided it was time to let the place go, and found a willing buyer in Tony Wahdan. He took over on December 1, and the place is now operating as Leeneh's Deli and More.
"I was looking for a business," Wahdan told me. "It was a good opportunity, a good area." His place will sell much the same food as Diana's, working from the same menu and stocking the same Greek groceries, but Wahdan will replace all the pork products with turkey -- turkey bacon, turkey sausage, turkey everything. I don't think I have to tell anyone how I feel about that.
Finally, over at 1575 Boulder Street, Lola has a new neighbor: Vita, whose opening this week coincides with the completion of the Highland Pedestrian Bridge. The owners are Mark Schuwerk and Jay Beckerman (who already have the Blue River Bistro in Breckenridge under their belts), and the cuisine will be contemporary Italian-American under the direction of chef Max MacKissock.