The more things change: The rough-and-tumble restaurant business leaves few eateries untouched. Except, perhaps, Club 404, a longtime oasis for cheap steaks at 404 Broadway (and a low-cost favorite of the meat-eating Chotzinoff family, above). Asked recently whether the restaurant had made any changes that should be reflected in its Westword listing, Club 404's proprietor responded, "Nope. It hasn't changed in 45 years." That beats the venerable Don Quijote, which serves up Spanish food--"the same for 30 years," according to a manager there--at 35 Federal Boulevard in one of the town's most atmospheric, if tacky, dining rooms. (Every bullfighting poster is a classic.)
Even the North Woods Inn, an institution on South Santa Fe Drive for decades, has given in to progress, moving down the road to a new location at 8109 Blakeland, at the corner of C-470. Seasons is now open at 1515 Market Street in the old home of the European Cafe (and before that, Cafe Giovanni); the European Cafe and its fellow transplant, Al Fresco, seem to be doing just fine in their new space below Brooks Towers, at 1040 15th Street.
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A few blocks away, though, the sad upstairs space at the corner of 15th and Champa streets has claimed another victim. Curt's Blue Platter Cafe, which served up some of the greatest, greasiest gut bombs around--"loosemeat" sandwich, anyone?--has disappeared, a victim not of cholesterol-consciousness but a lousy location. Anyone thinking about leasing Curt's former home should think again: This black hole has swallowed at least a dozen different ventures, including a much-needed downtown incarnation of Chubby's. Also giving up the ghost: House of Moo Goong Hwa, which was a decent Korean place at 10605 East Mississippi in Aurora; Cafe de la Paix, a decent French place at 1500 West Littleton Boulevard in Littleton; and Princess Garden, a decent Chinese place whose address at 1529 South Pearl Street is now occupied by Oodles.
In Boulder, the restaurant biz is so booming that Dot's Diner has opened a second place in the old home of Mother's at 1333 Broadway, and KT's Hick'ry Pit BBQ has done the same, opening another outlet at 2675 13th Street. And Lucile's, a Boulder institution at 2124 14th Street, plans to branch out with a Longmont incarnation sometime next month.
That's nothing, of course, compared to the activity in LoDo. Dixon's Downtown Grill threw its hat into the ring last week, serving designer pizzas, sandwiches and more ambitious entrees at 1610 16th Street, in the Mercantile Square project that's also home to the LoDo Tattered Cover. Dixon's is run by the same group that brought Denver first Goodfriend's and then Racine's. Still to come in the same neighborhood: a second Rodizio (Argentina meets the Ice House), the upscale Italian Sostanza just down Wynkoop at the corner of 17th Street, and another Italian eatery, Il Fornaio, a block away on Wazee Street next to McCormick's.