Toilet talk: Here's the poop on why the Newsstand Cafe at 630 East Sixth Avenue now requires a photo ID to get the key to the men's room--some jerk had been tearing the bathroom apart. On a daily basis, this fellow came into the coffeehouse and vandalized the joint's john, sometimes by ripping the side crank or aerator off, sometimes by jamming the handles. Anyone familiar with plumbing knows that messing with the aerator can cause flooding, and that's exactly what pushed Newsstand owner Trudie Ross to put a lock on the door.
"We're talking about a sick unit here," Ross says. "I hate making guys come to the counter to get a key and show ID, but this thing came to a head when this idiot caused a flood in the basement." Someone had actually been messing around with the bathroom for two years, Ross adds, but until recently the perpetrator was relatively harmless, making his presence known simply by stealing anything that wasn't nailed down and leaving the water running. She was mad about his latest antics, though--and so is her plumber, who had to solder on the aerator (not something you usually do to an aerator) so the flooding wouldn't happen again. "The sad thing is, we realized this is a regular doing this," Ross says.
On a happier note, the Newsstand celebrated its fifth anniversary in February. Help celebrate by trying one of the cafe's excellent coffees or new eggs-presso sandwiches (eggs and cheese frothed in an espresso machine, then cooked and served up with lox on a bagel). But if you're a male, don't forget your ID.
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Not talking: I can't tell you what they're planning to serve at Michael's on Marion, a new place slated to open this week at 1509 Marion. After someone called me to ask if the restaurant was related to Michael's of Cherry Creek, at 2710 East Third Avenue (it's not), I called the Marion Michael's to get the scoop. The guy who answered said that the place would be open May 20 but that he didn't have even forty seconds to tell me what kind of food would be served. "I'm very busy trying to get the renovation done so we can make the opening," he said.
Can we talk? Jan Leone is perfectly willing to tell all about her new restaurant, Siena, at 266 South Downing--just don't ask about her former husband, Jack Leone, with whom she used to run Cafe Giovanni and Al Fresco. More recently, she was known for five years of great work at the Denver Art Museum's Art Museum Cafe. Her latest project was to take over what had been Dante's, and former Dante's co-owner Jeff Harris is in on the endeavor with her. "Siena is some Italian, some eclectic stuff, some updated American," Leone says. "Things Jeff and I both like to do." The duo has remodeled slightly and shortened the lounge area, which meant getting rid of the piano bar Dante's had just introduced: "It's big in other cities but just hasn't really caught on here in Denver," Leone says. "I guess you could say both the food and decor are kind of eclectic," she adds.
Speaking of eclectic, chef Tyler Wiard cooks up two special dinners a month at Napa Cafe, 2033 East Colfax, for the restaurant's wine club--one for men on the second Tuesday, and one for women on the third Tuesday. Call 377-6869 to join.