By 5 p.m., Pearl Street Grill, the iconic watering hole on South Pearl Street, was jammed with imbibers clinking pints of porter, embracing friends and lamenting the closure of one of Platt Park's oldest neighborhood gathering spots. At 2 a.m., after last call, Pearl Street Grill will lock its doors after 28 years, leaving behind only memories.
"We opened in 1983 on New Year's Day, and now it's our last hurrah. After tonight, Pearl Street Grill is no longer," says Tyler Vorenkamp, the general manager of Pearl Street Grill since 2006. "It's been a really good week, an emotional week of great memories and tears, and it's important to know that everyone who works here -- some of whom have been with us for twenty years -- is going to land on their feet."
In fact, some of Pearl Street Grill's employees will no doubt end up working alongside one another yet again, because while the Grill is shuttering its current location, it's re-opening in a different location with a new concept...on South Pearl Street.
Vorenkamp, who says a deal is imminent, won't divulge, publicly, which South Pearl Street address Lee Driscoll, CEO of Wynkoop/Breckenridge Holdings, the company that owns Pearl Street Grill, is considering, but he will say this: "The deal that's being worked out will make everyone a big winner, and if it all goes according to plan, both parties will definitely benefit from the transition."
In addition, notes Vorenkamp, "Wynkoop/Breckenridge Holdings have affordable neighborhood joints and we want to stay in that game," so the new restaurant, which will open in the summer of 2012 with a different name, won't be a high-end dining den. "This has been one of the most successful restaurants in Denver because it's fun and affordable, and we want our next place to be the same way -- but we also need to stay with the times," he explains.
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Tonight, however, will be all about nostalgia. "This has been a tight-knit family for a long time, and I've loved coming to work every single day, not just because of the great staff, but because of our clientele and all the great times we've shared," says Vorenkamp. "The family dynamic here goes way beyond the staff, and for the next several hours, until we close, we want to give our loyal customers one last opportunity to drink a beer, have dinner, share stories and have a good time."
Thanks for the memories.