Mouthing Off

Shut-and-open case: Retirement lasted "about 62 1/2 days," says Gordon Hummel. Late last year he and wife Jean closed Hummel's Delicatessen and Sidewalk Cafe, at 2360 East Third Avenue, where for thirty years the duo had purveyed top-notch sandwiches and the best potato salad in town. But they didn't stay out of the food business for long: They've now opened a downsized version of their original deli, called Hummel's Bakery Cafe, in the old Hanna Banana Bakery spot at 938 Jersey Street. "We had so many phone calls from people," says Hummel. "A guy I don't even know called to ask for the potato salad recipe, and I said, 'Well, I'll give it to you, but you'll have to break it down from a hundred pounds.

"And then Jean would go to the store and be gone for an hour to get one thing, and when she came back I asked her what took so long," he continues. "She said people kept stopping her to ask where they could get our chicken pot pie. And we just missed the people so much."

Those who missed the Hummels' potato salad and chicken pot pie can get both at the new shop, along with sandwiches and baked goods. And kids will find two special treats waiting for them there: a bakery case full of Jean's collection of teddy bears and a four-foot Mickey Mouse doll who's happy to sit with youngsters while they eat.

Publicity hounds: The talk about Al Fresco and European Cafe has almost gotten pasta point of no return. The two side-by-side restaurants on Market Street are relocating this summer--but not as fast as rumor would have it. After the Denver Post ran an article last month on the slated move to Brooks Towers--the eateries' lease expired April 1, and residents of the downtown condominiums voted to bring the pair over to their building--the restaurants suffered a slew of cancellations. And one of them involved sixty people, according to Al Fresco manager Marna Melane-Dowling: "This was a wedding, and the bride said she just didn't want to take the chance that we wouldn't be around."

The truth is that the duo will stay put until August, which the story made clear about four paragraphs down. "Some people didn't read that far into it," Melane-Dowling says. "So we had people coming in to have their last meal at the Market Street Al Fresco. They were surprised to find out that they had more time than a week." Over three months, to be exact. And when the two restaurants finally move to their new home, at 1020 15th Street, they'll be joined by a third eatery (a gourmet coffee shop, deli and lounge). All three will be co-owned by Bruce Rahmani, one of the original European Cafe/Al Fresco owners, and executive chef Lupe Gonzalez.

Share with me: From 5 to 8 p.m. April 21, the ninth annual Taste of the Nation will fill the Colorado Convention Center with fifty restaurants and fifty vintners--and the fruits of their labors. Entry fee is $50; the proceeds go to Share Our Strength. Call 297-0408 for reservationsEMore wine can be had on April 29 at Aubergine Cafe, 225 East Seventh Avenue, at a dinner ($52 per person) highlighting the wares of Kermit Lynch, an importer out of Berkeley, California. Lynch specializes in wines from South France, especially Domaine Tempier, whose madame, Lulu, is renowned for her cooking; Aubergine chef/owner Sean Kelly will dish up goodies from her cookbook Lulu's Proveneal Table.

--Kyle Wagner


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