Back in the early '80s, Cliff Young's eponymous spot at 700 East 17th Avenue (today the home of Hamburger Mary's) was about the swankiest spot in town, during an era when swank was definitely in. But price point isn't the only thing that's changed in Denver over the past three decades. "Back then, when you had a seasonal menu, you changed it four times a year," Young recalls, and laughs.
With today's emphasis on fresh, seasonal produce, restaurateurs now change their menus far more often -- every month, sometimes every week. And that's what Young has planned for CY Steak, the restaurant he opened three and a half years ago at 1222 Glenarm Place, adjacent to the Diamond Cabaret, a "gentleman's club and local legend." See also: - Cliff Young stakes a claim on CY Steak - Oooh la la! Cliff Young is back, and opening a steakhouse at the Diamond Cabaret - Girls and grills at CY Steak
Young just hired a chef de cuisine for the restaurant: Douglas Mace, a graduate of Johnson & Wales and veteran of Morimoto in New York City. Mace will be coming up with a new, "grassroots" menu every week -- a three-course dinner featuring seasonal specials that will cost $30 to $35 and appeal to a market beyond the CY regulars, a younger market that might appreciate a little Las Vegas flavor here in Denver.
For those regulars, though, the restaurant will keep the big steaks -- executive chef Clem McHale is "a real old-school beef guy," says Zachary Young, who works with his father at CY -- as well as the bigger wine list (over 500 bottles, with eighteen by the glass), the cigars and the dancers. But only after 8:30 p.m. (before that, you can go next door).
And the special menu isn't the only innovation the Youngs have planned. A few years ago, Cliff thought about opening a brasserie, Zink, in a space on the same block as the Diamond. But instead, in September he and Zachary will open O Bar, just around the corner at 437 East Colfax Avenue -- in a part of downtown thirsty for a new watering hole. The bar, in a circa 1891 building, will feature grab-and-go items during breakfast and lunch; small plates, contemporary cocktails and a major happy hour on the main floor; and a late-night lounge in the downstairs space.
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A version of this story appeared in Cafe Bites, our newsletter dedicated to Denver's dining and drinking scene that appears in e-mail inboxes every Wednesday; find out how to subscribe to Cafe Bites here.