What was until recently the Mile High United Way headquarters in Lower Highland is currently a gaping hole in the ground, but before long it will become the 18th & Central Apartment Community — and with it will come ground-floor retail space. Southern Land Company, developers of the property, have already leased 5,250 square feet of that to the Ohio-based Rusty Bucket Restaurant & Tavern, which currently operates nineteen other locations throughout the Midwest and Florida under the tagline "Grab life by the bucket."
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This will be Rusty Bucket's second planned eatery in the Denver metro area; the first is scheduled to open in the Orchard Town Center in Westminster next spring. The chain is operated by Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, which also runs Ocean Prime (we've got one of those, too) and several other concepts that have yet to invade the Front Range.
While gentrification in the neighborhood has brought an onslaught of new bars and restaurants — and the crowds that tag along — the area has so far been fairly resistant to national chain concepts. Postino LoHi, the swank new wine bar just off Tejon and 17th streets, comes courtesy of an Arizona restaurant company, though there are only four other locations, and this is the first outside of the Phoenix area. Most of the other joints in the area are locally owned — Uncle, Central Bistro and Jezebel's, for example — or are products of local restaurant groups, like the Big Red F's Lola; LoHi SteakBar, from Larimer Associates; and the Ale House at Amato's, from Breckenridge-Wynkoop.