The original Las Delicias, at 439 East 19th Avenue, closed suddenly last week — earlier than anticipated for a scheduled remodeling — locking the door to the space where this homegrown chain got its start. Robert and Norma Torres opened the little storefront Mexican eatery in 1976; it was a quick hit with hospital workers in the neighborhood and other fans of hot green chile, and over the years the restaurant kept expanding along the block, adding room after room and then getting a major facelift a few years ago to pull it all together.
Las Delicias expanded throughout the metro area, too, taking over the Riviera property in Glendale almost twenty years ago, and replacing that watering hole with a new Las D — but keeping the Riv sign. In addition to that location, there are Las Delicias outposts in Parker, Conifer and Littleton.
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Even though the family-run outfit keeps updating its offerings, the menu has certain mainstays — including pork chops smothered in that green, as well as the first pico de gallo served in the area (dubbed "special salsa"). And Norma Torres has remained a familiar figure at the original store, often standing guard by the cash register and handing out menus. But now she may get a break.
According to the Las Delicias website, Las Delicias #1 "is closed for remodeling until spring 2016." But the writing may have been on the wall as soon as the restaurant lost its parking lot across the street to a major residential/retail development two years ago, which made parking very inconvenient. That could be one of the challenges referred to on the sign that was posted on the door when Las Delicias closed.