El Diablo does not look like this tonight. There are no crowds. In fact, the restaurant is closed, as is Sketch, its sibling next door. Very early yesterday morning, the city slapped the entire First Avenue Hotel building with notices to vacate the premise -- immediately.
The reason? According to the city, the building is unsafe -- although it signed off on both Sketch and El Diablo opening, and the Denver Office of Economic Development even gave loans to developer Jesse Morreale to bring back the 106-year-old building.
Despite the warning signs plastered on the building, both restaurants were operating yesterday -- Sketch was hosting a fundraiser for 9News reporter Kirk Montgomery, who has a showing of photographs in the restaurant. But Sketch and El Diablo closed early, soon after ten last night, and they did not reopen today.
Morreale had a meeting with the city at 8 a.m. today, and it did not go well. If it had, those restaurants would be open. Asked about that meeting and a timeline for the reopening,, a spokeswoman for Community Planning, the agency responsible for issuing the notices to vacate, said she would get back to us tomorrow. In the meantime, both Sketch and El Diablo remain dark.
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The devil's in the details.