Denver's dining scene isn't all salumi and sunshine. Alerted that something was going down at Roam, Cafe Society editor Lori Midson hurried to 17th Avenue, arriving just in time to see owner Daniel Kuhlman shoving former employees -- and grab for her camera. Before this souffle fell, the cops had been called. Again.
Here's Midson's account of what she found when she pulled up in front of 1033 East 17th:
Several of the former staff, including exec chef Tony Clement, who came on board when Wild Catch reopened as Roam, his wife and front-of-the-house manager, Mandi, two servers and a dishwasher were next door at Las Margaritas when I showed up. They gathered in front of Roam, I took a photograph and, suddenly, Kuhlman flung open the front door, started shoving people out of the way, including me, and then attempted to grab my camera, nearly knocking me to the pavement in the process. After he and Tony exchanged words (and Daniel wagged his finger in Tony's face), Tony called the police.
Mandi and Tony had already come face-to-face with Denver's finest once today, after Daniel, who changed the locks almost immediately, felt the need to have the couple escorted off the premises. "Apparently, he was afraid we were going to steal his stuff, so he called the police," says Tony.
There's more, of course, since this was only the latest chapter in the wild history of this address, which was Kuhlman's Tastes wine bar before he turned it into Wild Catch, with chef Justin Brunson behind the burners last August. But Brunson himself got burned and left last fall, taking most of the staff with him. After that, Kuhlman hired Clement and opened Roam.
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Now Roam is off the range, and another fourteen people are looking for work.
Bad timing for the Denver Post, which has a rave review of Roam in print today. Bill Porter's piece ends like so: "This is a great addition to the East 17th Avenue dining scene....Here's hoping Roam stays put."
No such luck. But Midson did manage to hang onto her camera -- and get the story. You can read it all in our post headlined "Daniel Kuhlman, owner of Roam, comes out swinging -- literally -- after abruptly closing his restaurant (again)."
As long Colorado is going to bill Rocky Mountain oysters as the state's official food, boosters could at least describe them right. Read Patricia Calhoun's ball-busting column "Let's Talk Embarrassing."