Last night, after dinner service, Tambien, the irreverent Mexican cantina at 250 Steele Street, in Cherry Creek, has shuttered its doors.
The lease on the subterranean taqueria, which opened in 2006 after owners Jesse Morreale and Sean Yontz closed Sketch at the same address and then later reopened the wine, salumi and cheese bar at 11 West First Avenue, had expired, and Morreale bid it adiós.
"To be honest, Cherry Creek has been difficult for us, and with the lease expiring, it's a good reason to get out of Dodge," says Morreale, who, along with Yontz, recently opened El Diablo at 101 Broadway, directly next door to Sketch.
"Cherry Creek is completely different from what it was six years ago, and while I think this is a really great concept, it just didn't jive in Cherry Creek -- plus, with the economy tanking and being on a street without a lot of foot traffic, it made sense to let it go," explains Morreale.
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But Morreale isn't tossing the concept (or his Tambien employees) to the curb. Everyone who worked at Tambien has been offered a position at El Diablo, Sketch, Rockbar or La Rumba, all of which Morreale owns. And he's currently scouting 'hoods around Denver to resurrect Tambien. "We want to protect and maintain the brand, but this is a young, hip, loud restaurant that will do well in a young, hip neighborhood, so we're looking around to find a space that's more appropriate for that kind of vibe," he says.
And he's taking all the furniture, art and tchotchkes from Tambien with him. "We're gonna pack everything up, store it and move it to somewhere new."
In the meantime, says Morreale, El Diablo, which has been open for all of two weeks, is going gangbusters: "We did 900 covers last Saturday night. That's amazing."