It was fun, very fun, while it lasted -- and it lasted fourteen years. But come early September, Dixons Downtown Grill will close its doors.
Dixons opened just two years after Coors Field came to lower downtown; it quickly established itself as one of the best power-breakfast spots in town, as well as a convivial watering hole where industry types would grab their last drink of the night. And in between, it's hosted everyone from tourists to the growing group of LoDo residents to families celebrating big events.
I stopped in after the Rockies game last night, before employees would get the news of the impending closure at a meeting this afternoon, and quietly raised a glass to the place and the people who've frequented it. Dixons is the sort of spot where memories pour out, and I toasted friends who'd passed through these doors, and have since passed on. Westword's original managing editor, Sandy Widener, who died in a Christmas car wreck almost four years ago -- just a week after she and I sat reminiscing at the Dixons bar; I could hear her laughing still. Chris Power Bain, the city's biggest booster, who once regaled a crowd with an inventory of all the potentially deadly weapons in her purse.
The 9,200 square-foot restaurant currently has sixty employees; many are being offered positions at Racines, Dixons's sibling restaurant that will soon be the sole survivor in a home-grown chain that once numbered three locations.
Racines, the first in a group that also included Goodfriends, moved to a new home that partners Lee Goodfriend and David Racine built a decade ago, and their experience there convinced them that it was time to let Dixons go, rather than renew another lease.
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Here's the official word:
DENVER, CO - June 30, 2011- Dixons Downtown Grill, at the corner of 16th and Wazee Streets in Lower Downtown Denver, will close in early September after fourteen years at the LoDo location. Racines, its sister restaurant, remains open at 650 Sherman Street.
Co-owner Lee Goodfriend attributed a change in real estate strategies as the major reason for the closing.
"Our experience with Racines has spoiled us," said Goodfriend, co-owner of both restaurants with partner David Racine. "We own the building and parking garage at Racines and weren't interested in renewing a deal where we could not own the real estate. At this stage of our lives, we'll be very happy running one very successful restaurant."
Goodfriend said that many of Dixons current staff members will be offered positions at Racines when Dixons closes.
Dixons opened in 1997 in a very different LoDo neighborhood. The restaurant quickly became the "go to" place for breakfast and lunch meetings by business owners and residents in Lower Downtown. It has been honored by the Denver food press with Best Margarita and Best Nacho awards for many years.
Colorado Rockies fans often celebrate a win or drown their sorrows with drinks or dinner on the wraparound patio and weekend brunch business brings urban and suburban diners to this sprawling restaurant. Dixons was at the epicenter of LoDo crowds during the Democratic National Convention in 2008.
What's your favorite Dixons memory? Post it below.