With so many new and exciting places to eat in Denver, it's easy to overlook old favorites and neighborhood standbys...and that can be deadly for those restaurants. Increased competition and shifting demographics, trends and neighborhood needs can mean the demise of eateries that previously attracted crowds. Here are the ten Denver restaurants that closed in 2017 that we'll miss the most.
2449 Larimer Street
Americatus was a pioneer on a block wedged between the Ballpark and RiNo neighborhoods, springing from the wreckage of the Great Recession with a DIY attitude and a mission to make artisan Italian cuisine affordable. Great sausage and housemade pasta were the calling cards of chef/owner Iain Chisholm. The restaurant market got crowded in a hurry on Larimer Street, where trend-chasing often takes precedence over quality. Chisholm closed the restaurant in June to launch a wholesale sausage business. So far, there have been no takers on the space.
3901 Tennyson Street
Denver just doesn't do Greek food particularly well, with only a couple of good Greek restaurants in the whole city. We still have our Greek diners serving gyros, burgers and burritos, but the loss of Axios was a blow to seekers of souvlaki, lovers of lamb and fans of flaming cheese. The sunny Berkeley restaurant space will soon be home to something a little trendier: Kazan Ramen Bistro.
The Blue Parrot
640 Main Street, Louisville
The closing of the Blue Parrot nearly a century after the first plate of pasta was served there marked the end of a long era of classic Italian-American cooking on Louisville's Main Street. The building is now home to Tilt Pinball, an arcade dedicated to vintage games.
Desmond Bar & Grill
2230 Oneida Street
Chef/restaurateur Sean Kelly launched this neighborhood gathering spot two years ago in Park Hill, offering small plates with a Mediterranean bent in what had formerly been the Table Top. He closed Desmond in July, and the space has already turned over. It's now Red Sauce, from chef Jon Robbins, who also owns the nearby Bistro Barbès. While Desmond is gone, we're fortunate that we can still get a taste of Kelly's cooking at SK Provisions inside the Denver Central Market.
Hutch & Spoon
3090 Larimer Street
With so many openings on Larimer Street over the past two or three years, it's hard to imagine an eatery going out of business. But Hutch & Spoon, a little cafe with delicious baked goods and sandwiches, called it quits in September, leaving a gap in the breakfast-and-lunch scene in RiNo. That gap will soon be filled by Rye Society, a Jewish deli run by Jerrod Rosen, a fourth-generation Coloradan whose family once operated a grocery, a deli and a burger drive-in on Colfax Avenue.
JJ Chinese Seafood
2500 West Alameda Avenue
JJ Chinese Seafood was once a go-to restaurant for Denver's off-duty chefs, a status it earned with its adventurous Cantonese menu, live seafood and relatively late hours that allowed many in the service industry to slip in for a meal before its midnight closing time. But Cantonese cuisine is losing popularity in favor of bold and spicy Sichuan cooking, a trend that's in evidence with the building's new tenant, Yummy Szechuan.
2229 Blake Street
The seasonal fluctuation of crowds in the Ballpark neighborhood can be tough on a business. If you don't have cheap drinks and bar food, the partiers who frequent the area even outside of baseball season tend to pass you over. So the neighborhood never really caught on to what Latigo was offering: well-made regional and traditional Mexican dishes like sizzling molcajetes and Oaxacan tlayudas. Nobody has stepped forward to claim the space, which is right next door to Coors Field and has been vacant since August.
The Squeaky Bean
1500 Wynkoop Street
In its two lives on West 33rd Avenue and then in LoDo, the Squeaky Bean proved to be simultaneously one of the most daring restaurants in Denver and one of the most entertaining and comfortable. There was the earnest and wholehearted approach to seasonality that saw an increasing reliance on produce from partner Josh Olsen's ACRES farm project at Warren Tech High School, balanced with the goofy charm of Bingo Brunch and the celebrity memorial shrines — with accompanying cocktails — created by Johnny Ballen. A commitment to the community was always clear in the restaurant's mission, so it was somehow fitting that Ballen and Olsen announced the shuttering of the Bean on the same night the two were accepting the Colorado Restaurant Association's Humanitarian Award in June. The restaurant space remains vacant seven months later.
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295 South Pennsylvania Street
A neighborhood needs a restaurant that fits its personality. Washington Park West (and Speer, its lesser-known neighbor to the north) is a little bit moneyed, a little bit edgy, and mostly casual owing to a mix of imposing mansions, cozy cottages and aging apartment buildings. Telegraph's style seemed to fit in, with an adventurous menu (the pig-face bacon demonstrated the apex of that spirit) and a stellar happy hour, drawing walk-ins looking for a quick bite and a drink as well as upscale diners wanting an elegant night out. Neither were enough, as it turned out, and Telegraph turned out the lights for good in November after two years in business. The building has housed several restaurants over the past few years; no telling what will come next.
701 East Sixth Avenue
Korean cuisine isn't easy to find within Denver city limits, so to lose a neighborhood gem like Uoki, which operated under the same ownership for more than a decade (and was another Korean restaurant, Seoul Food, for many years before that) was a loss for East Sixth Avenue. Interior renovations are under way at the corner space, but there's no sign yet of what's to come.