After almost fifteen years, Dixons Downtown Grill shut its doors at 1610 16th Street on Labor Day, leaving a 9,200 square-foot gap on the 16th Street Mall. But it also left behind some good memories: of employees dancing on the bar at closing on that last Saturday night ("and no one got injured," notes co-owner Lee Goodfriend); of old staffers coming in to help give the place a proper sendoff; of downtown denizen Bill Clarke eating there not once, but twice on the last day.
Although Goodfriend and her partner, David Racine, had announced months ago that they'd chosen not to re-sign the lease on Dixons and instead close the downtown restaurant, Goodfriend says she was pleasantly surprised by how many employees stayed on until the close. "Most of the staff hung with us to the bitter end," she notes. "People are hesitant sometimes to give people proper notice because they think they'll leave, and I've found that's not true -- even people who weren't getting other jobs with us hung on."
Goodfriend and her partner, David Racine, will keep themselves busy at Racines, the restaurant at 650 Sherman Street that's in a building they built - and own. At one time, they had a third restaurant -- Goodfriends -- that is now in the space occupied by Annie's Cafe. And they had another partner, the late Dixon Staples.
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A few chains have looked at the Dixons location, but no one's bitten on the property yet. Because the kitchen stretches across the back, it would be tough to divide it into two spaces. And this spot isn't the only gap on this stretch of Wazee.
The abrupt closing of Big Game at 1631 Wazee Street last month left another big hole; a deal is reportedly in the works there. Across the street at the corner of 16th and Wazee, Gumbo's is slated to close next month; a Denver version of The Kitchen is taking over that spot and will open in 2012.