Just got word that real estate and restaurant magnate Jim Sullivan has finally closed the book on his restaurant empire. On Monday, September 29, the Sullivan Restaurant Group closed both Nine75 (the original, at 975 Lincoln Street) and Ocean (at 201 Columbine Street in Cherry Creek). Saturday was the final night of service at both locations -- the only restaurant properties Sullivan had left after the earlier closures of Nine75 North (which, from what I hear, served like eleven people before throwing in the towel); the doomed strippers-and-steakhouse Oscar’s, which was attached to the Diamond Cabaret and hadn’t made enough money in the year it was open to warrant an extension of its contract (seriously, who can lose money on steaks being served by beautiful women attached to a place where other beautiful women are taking their clothes off for money?); two locations of the pastry shop and dessert bar Emogene (one of which closed almost before it opened in Belmar, the other next door to Ocean in Cherry Creek); and the best restaurant ever to be named after a murderous communist dictator, Mao, which went dark in the space that Ocean would later fill.
As with most of his other closures, Sullivan did not inform either employees or suppliers that the restaurants would be closing -- leaving everyone involved in the lurch this morning, showing up at addresses that no longer required them. And while you’d think that this would make those few management-level workers remaining somewhat bitter, Sullivan himself must have some kind of wicked Svengali hold over them because even today -- fucked over, out of work and left behind to perform suicide rearguard actions -- they still won't talk.
'I called Nine75 early today and got a manager who told me that Nine75 had closed because the Sullivan Group “had lost so much money on the North location,” but then, apparently thinking better of talking to the press, she clammed up tight, saying that she couldn’t talk, that she wouldn’t talk and that she would really like it if I stopped asking questions.
“But you don’t have a job anymore, do you?” I asked.
She admitted that no, she no longer had a job.
“Then I don’t see that there’s anything keeping you from talking.”
“Look,” she said. “I really like Jim and I can’t say anything, okay?”
Okay. I let it go, and asked her to put through a message for me to the COO. Then I called Ocean, where the manager was even less forthcoming.
“I’m not authorized to answer any questions or to talk to anyone.”
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Since no one knows what to say, they've chosen to say nothing at all. At Nine75, there isn’t even a sign on the door saying that the joint is closed. As of right now, no one is picking up the phones at the Sullivan Restaurant Group offices, and Jim Sullivan's number goes straight to voice-mail.
I’ll offer a more thorough breakdown of what happened once someone starts talking, but for now, one thing is clear: King Jim Sullivan, the man who put up molds of his hands outside of Mao, no longer reigns over his family of restaurants. -- Jason Sheehan