After the initial sadness of saying goodbye to Tom’s Home Cookin’ when the celebrated Southern lunch counter closed abruptly in December, curiosity took hold: Who would be the next tenant to bring something new to the Five Points neighborhood in a way that would spark appetites and admiration — as Steve Jankousky and Tom Unterwagner had done when they opened their diner more than fifteen years ago?
The buyer was rumored to be another restaurateur in town, and that set off guessing games around Denver.
But now the guessing is over: Jean-Phillipe Failyau, Peter Newlin and Rachel Sanford have applied with the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses for a liquor license at the old Tom’s address at 800 East 26th Avenue. If those names don’t ring a bell, the moniker Park Burger will. With four of the popular burger bars — plus Park & Co. and Homegrown Tap & Dough — already in its stable, the group behind Park Burger is setting its sights on something new.
Newlin, director of operations for the company, says he and his cohorts are not quite ready to reveal what they’re putting in the place — it’s currently registered with the city as Birdcall — but adds that the group is honored to step in where Tom’s left off. “We’re very excited to be in the neighborhood and in the building. Right now we’re just focusing on finalizing the concept,” he explains.
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The group has more than one task at hand this spring: A second Homegrown Tap & Dough is scheduled to open in Olde Town Arvada at 5601 Wadsworth Boulevard — the space that was most recently Braun Taphaus & Grille. “That’s probably going to be our coolest concept to date,” Newlin notes. “We’re taking the design to the next level: There will be a gondola from Whistler, fire features…and fifty beers on draft.” The new pizza place, like the original in Wash Park, will also feature several of Park Burger’s core burgers on the menu.
Newlin thinks the opening is coming at just the right time for the renaissance in Olde Town Arvada, with Kline’s Beer Hall and the Bluegrass Coffee & Bourbon Lounge opening recently, as well as a new Steuben’s set to open this spring. “It has a really cool downtown vibe,” he says. “It’s becoming this great little destination on its own.”