One of the biggest restaurant spaces downtown has gone dark: Baur's Restaurant and Listening Lounge, which opened two years ago at 1512 Curtis Street just off the 16th Street Mall, has closed (although the Listening Lounge will reopen for shows booked until April). The spacious eatery was opened in 2015 by chef Dory Ford, who also runs two restaurants and a catering company in Monterey, California; he took the place over from Le Grand Bistro, a French eatery from Punch Bowl Social founder Robert Thompson that ran from 2011 to 2014. Before that it was an Italian place called Baur's Ristorante.
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The building has seen many more incarnations in its long life, which began in 1872 with the O. P. Baur Confectionery Company. That was transformed into a full-fledged restaurant and soda fountain, spinning off several other Denver locations over the decades, but all of them, including the original, had closed by 1970. In the early 2000s, the three-story building was renovated, and in 2006, when the tenant was the Victory American Grill, the city proclaimed July 18 Baur's Building Day, and the Victory served free ice cream to commemorate the building's sweet history. Ford's version of Baur's continued that tradition in 2015 and 2016, but now Baur's Day is in doubt for 2017 — unless a new tenant moves in soon and takes over the ice cream honors.