A few doors down from Del Mar Crab House (see review this issue), folks at The Market (1145 Larimer Street) are mourning the sudden loss of Gary Greenberg, who ran the LoDo institution with his brother, Mark Greenberg, and died two weeks ago from brain cancer at age 52. Mark promises that he won't make any decisions about the fate of the much-loved deli and coffeehouse for at least a year. "The thing is, it's harder to find a good partner than it is a brother these days," says Mark, who's still trying to catch up at The Market after taking nine weeks off to care for Gary. "But I'm determined to make this place a tribute to Gary, and my wife keeps telling me that I'm not allowed to do anything stupid in the midst of all this numbness."
As anyone who's spent any time at The Market over the last seventeen years knows, the Greenbergs could bicker a bit, but the brothers made a heck of a team. They became partners in 1970, when they opened their Cheese and Specialty Foods importing company. "We just worked well together, which is a rarity even when you're talking about people who aren't related," Mark says. "Some moments right now, I can't even imagine what I'm going to do. I'm lucky, though, to have a staff that's been here for years and is very supportive, and they have been unbelievable in helping me get through this. And the customers have just been super about it."
If he can keep The Market going on his own, Mark says, it will be a testament to the simplicity and quality the brothers aspired to from the start. "Here we've been for all these years, with very little attention from the media and a lot of word of mouth, and we keep going in the face of that," he points out. "These guys come in and open a place that gets all kinds of attention and promotes the heck out of itself, and then they're gone in a year. I think, and my brother always agreed, that we owe our customers better than that."
"I've come here nearly every day since I moved to Denver five years ago," said Bertie Koval, who was sitting at a table next to mine the other day while we both munched on The Market's super-sweet blueberry muffins. (I chased mine with a café latte.) "I moved here from New York, and this was the only place I could find that really felt like I was hanging out at a real deli in a downtown atmosphere."
Although Koval never knew Gary's name, he recognized him as the "guy who always said hello and pushed the chairs in, checked on you to see if things were okay, asked if you'd seen the game the night before," he says. "Once you got started on the game, any game, you might be there for a while. I'll miss that."
Although The Market may stay the same, other changes are in the works for Larimer Square. Across Larimer at the corner of 15th Street, big preparations are under way to change a former antiques store into the hot, hot Samba Room. Down the block, Ben & Jerry's (1404 Larimer) has gone into the deep freeze and will be replaced by -- yahoo! -- Josh & John's, a Colorado Springs-based creamery that will move its outlet at 1444 Market Street (where it's been for five years) around the corner by the end of December. And Cadillac Ranch (1400 Larimer) just dropped lunch from its repertoire, citing the labor shortage as a major factor in its reduced hours. (Aubergine Café, at 225 East Seventh Avenue, made the same move a few months ago.)
Ch-ch-ch-changes: Cozy, quaint Kate's at 35th (3435 Albion Street) is scheduled to reopen today after an expansion and remodeling, but just for holiday parties and weekend brunches (by reservation only) until the end of the year. When Kate's reopens to the general public the first week of January, it will feature new hours: Breakfasts are no more (although that fabulous Sunday brunch remains), lunch will be offered Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 to 2 -- and, at long last, Kate's will serve dinner, although only on Friday and Saturday (hours to be determined).
It'll be a few more days before anyone can get into the wonderful Highlands' Garden Café (3927 West 32nd Avenue), which has been trying to get everyone to drop the "Today's Gourmet" from its name. The beautiful eatery has made itself even more so by refinishing the floors and repainting. Doors open December 4.
And welcome back to Charlie Master, doing another turn as manager of Mel's Bar and Grill (235 Fillmore Street); the son of owners Mel and Jane Master had been playing at Aspen's Caribou Club for the past two years. Mel's also hired a new pastry chef, Melanie Kaman, who comes by way of San Francisco's Postrio and L.A.'s Spago.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Denver dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.