Location, location, location. The subterranean space at 250 Steele Street has swallowed up another restaurant: Big Easy Creole Kitchen.
George Gastl, a native of Denver and graduate from the Culinary Institute of Scottsdale, had cooked around the world -- in Santa Fe, Germany and, yes, New Orleans -- before returning to Colorado to look for a space where he could start his own New Orleans-themeed restaurant. Eventually he found it in Cherry Creek, in the basement space next to Ondo's and close by where he once worked in the kitchen of Mel's Bar and Grill.
But maybe he should have looked a little longer.
Before opening Big East last September, Gastl remodeled the space, which had previously held Tambien and Sketch, giving it a sumptuous New Orleans feel -- with a Creole/Cajun menu to match. "We want it to be as if you were in the French Quarter in New Orleans," he told Cafe Society last spring, "and you walked into a nice restaurant."
Operative term: "walked into." You walked down to get into Big Easy, and basement restaurants have a notoriously tough time in Denver.
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What's next for Gastl -- and this black hole of a space? Our calls to Big Easy have not been returned.