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D for Denver

Keegan Gerhard is a star -- and D Bar Desserts really shines.

Because come the end of August, D Bar should finally be in possession of a liquor license, something it didn't have when it opened two months ago, even though that was part of the original concept. "There was some shenanigans with the first [hearing]—something with the floor plan," Gerhard explained. The shenanigans apparently involved a small square of pavement between the front door and the entrance to the patio that, in the original plans, showed up as unlicensed space. And one can't have customers (or servers) carrying drinks through an unlicensed space. The error has since been corrected, and with a lot of help from friends in town, D Bar has a second hearing scheduled for August 25 — after which the owners plan to introduce a twelve- to sixteen-bottle wine list, arranged by style (bright whites, big reds, bubbles, et cetera), as well as a few dessert liqueurs (Baileys, Kahlúa and their ilk) and, every night, a different pastry-inspired martini.

"Things work as they should," Gerhard told me. "If we'd had the license right from the beginning, we would've gotten our asses handed to us. We wouldn't have been ready at all."

Now they're ready to serve booze, and also to make some more changes. Come fall, Gerhard and Bailey hope to introduce a Sunday brunch: homemade Danish and croissant, booze and coffee. They'll switch up the schedule at that point, closing on Mondays and staying open Sunday — a day the two of them usually spend working anyhow. Said Gerhard, "People come by on Sunday, and they see me working inside and they ask, 'Hey, why can't you cook for us?' I'm here anyway, so..."

Spoken like a true chef — a true cook. A man who really wants nothing more than to feed people and to spend his days playing with food.

Hardly like a celebrity at all.


Leftovers: Not surprisingly, Hue Asian Bistro, which took over the failed (and hibachi-less) Thai Thai Hibachi space at 1312 East Sixth Avenue, has gone dark. A sign on the door says the place has closed for renovations, but it's dated from early May and, when I peeked in the windows Friday night, it didn't look like anything inside had been touched since the doors closed.

But there's news of a surprising, and sad, closure, too. Mori Japanese Restaurant (2019 Market Street) is also flying the "temporarily closed for renovation" sign, and while there's no one who'd argue against Mori probably being the Denver restaurant most desperately in need of a serious renovation (unless, of course, broken ceiling tiles, exposed wiring and ragged, blackened carpets are your thing), it's clear that this is not the kind of renovation that Mori will come back from. What gave it away? The For Sale sign hanging just on the other side of the chained-off parking lot.

This is not just another restaurant closure, but the end of an era. The building that housed Mori had been a Nisei veterans post, and the restaurant itself had been around since 1948, dating back to the very beginning of Denver's post-war fascination with all things Japanese. Before that, the building was a brothel — one of the most popular in the 1890s, according to people who know that sort of thing.

Unfortunately, I don't know a lot more about Mori's fate after a call to the agent handling the property, Mathew Abraham. "We could sell or lease the entire property," he said, adding that the owners are prepared to go either way, depending on interest. Given the property's proximity to Coors field, we're betting the building will sell, then disappear.

And with that, another big piece of Denver's past will go dark.

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