When Cliff Young's opened back in 1984, it was the hottest restaurant in town — a beautiful space on East 17th Avenue that was full of beautiful people eating beautiful food. (That space later became Dante Bichette's and then Hamburger Mary's, which Drew Bixby writes about on page 38.) After his eponymous restaurant ended its run in '93, Cliff Young wound up moving to France, where he bought an old manor house in Beaune that he turned into a restaurant and residence club. But now he's put that property on the market and is back in Denver, the town where Cliff Young's revolutionized the dining scene 25 years ago. And Young's next venture promises to be almost as revolutionary:
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He's taking over the dining room at the Diamond Cabaret. Come November, it will be — with a fleur de lis between Young's initials to signify what a little French flair can do for a steakhouse connected to a strip club.
Young has spent the past six weeks working on the project, adding nine tables (Jim Sullivan, who opened Oscar's there back in 2007 before he gave up on the restaurant business, had reduced the room to 32 seats), picking out art nouveau pieces that will emphasis "the eternal feminine," and working on the menu with Mike Wiest, the chef he's bringing in from Allred's in Telluride. Young attributes some of his inspiration to Steve Wynn, who put his own initials on his steakhouse in Las Vegas; he also credits some to BLT Steak, at Bistro Laurent Tourondel in New York. And to Paul Bocuse, who consulted on the Crazy Horse Cabaret. So in addition to giving the menu a French feel, Young will also add entertainment after 8:30 p.m. Topless entertainment.
"By branding it," Young says, "I'm saying I believe in this location, I believe in the image. I think there's a fundamental need for it. I'm not going to hide from the Cabaret."
On September 18, Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill, a fast-casual chain based in Centennial, opened its fifth metro outpost, at 8225 South Chester Street in Park Meadows. Created in 2007 by Alon Mor, Garbanzo's serves pitas, shawarma, falafel hummus and other mixed Mediterranean specialties with a healthy (no trans fat, no preservatives) bent. Cilantro Fusion made its debut on September 14 at 1531 Stout Street, once the home of Juan's, a Mexican joint allegedly renowned for its green chile. Owner Gabriela Bossy, who was born in Mexico City, has changed the rest of the menu, but kept the green chile "as a tribute to the former Juan's," she says. And Empanada Express, a freestanding trailer that peddled Venezuelan street snacks, has finally moved off the streets and into a permanent space at 2600 East Street in Golden, where it sells men's shirts ($15 each) as well as arepas, empanadas and cachapas, or corn cakes.