Chris Dailey -- owner of Boulder Creek Events and a pair of Flatiron Crossing restaurants, Street Legal Pizza and Street Legal Burgers - has had a lifelong fascination with America in the '50s. So when he found an open spot in Boulder's Twenty Ninth Street project (soon to be the home of Colorado's first Trader Joe's), he dreamed up the StarLite Diner & Lounge to pay homage to the era. "He integrates '50s themes with everything we do," explains Sara Wells, who does PR for Dailey. "He had the opportunity to open a diner separately, and it was a lifelong dream coming true."
Late last year, Dailey scored the former home of Ruby's Diner and began building it out with all kinds of kitsch. "The overall feel is a classic '50s diner," Wells says. "We have all kinds of vintage pictures up on the wall and things like an antique speaker that you'd hook on the car at the drive-in." The space is also outfitted with black and red leather seats, vintage booths and an old jukebox that will play a soundtrack of hits from the '50s and provide the sound system for the space. There's an expansive patio, as well, which Dailey plans to heat in the colder months. The bar area will feature three televisions: two turned to sports, the third showing a movie that would have been big at a drive-in.
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The StarLite will also feature a '50s-era menu, with a focus on burgers, fries and milkshakes. But Dailey brought Robert Glover, the head chef at Street Legal Burgers, over to dream up a bigger menu, too. "We'll also have meatloaf, pot pies as specials, a turkey dinner platter and chicken-fried steak," Wells says. "We want to be known for desserts, and we have an extensive menu, including milkshakes, sundaes, banana splits and a gluten-free chocolate nut torta made with Nutella."
The restaurant had planned for a March 15 opening, but finishing touches on the construction and Boulder's inspection schedule caused a delay. "We're waiting for walk-throughs," says Wells. "Currently, the plan is the end of the month, or, potentially, April 1."
A version of this story originally appeared in Cafe Bites, our weekly newsletter devoted to Denver's food and drink scene, which arrives in e-mail boxes every Wednesday afternoon. Find out how to subscribe here.