If you live anywhere near the intersection of East Ninth Avenue and Colorado Boulevard, you're more than familiar with the massive construction project that's been going on for years, beginning with the demolition of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and continuing with the construction of a new mixed-use development called 9th & Colorado — or 9+CO for short. For neighbors who have put up with all the noise and dust, an end is in sight — complete with a reward for folks who like to go out for an occasional restaurant meal.
Several restaurants have already announced their intention to open at 9+CO, which will cover the entire block between Eighth and Ninth avenues. They include Postino Wine Cafe, the wine-bar concept from Arizona that landed in LoHi in 2016; Hopdoddy Burger Bar, an Austin, Texas, transplant with one Denver location next to Union Station; Zöes Kitchen, a multi-state Mediterranean fast-casual chain; and Clean Juice, a pressed juice and smoothie bowl bar.
New deals have recently been inked, so more locally owned and national restaurant companies will also open on the block. Pizzeria Locale, the quick-service eatery founded by Frasca's Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson (and backed by Chipotle), will open its first outpost since scaling back operations last summer, when it closed five restaurants in Cincinnati and Kansas City. Gelato Boy, which started out as Fior di Latte in Boulder before expanding to Zeppelin Station and changing names in 2018, will add its third metro location.
Newcomer Frank & Roze, an all-day coffee shop and cafe from owners Brenda Godfrey and Frank Sica, is also slated for the development. Chef/restaurateur Tom Coohill of Coohills in downtown Denver will be developing a menu that will include breakfast sandwiches on housemade brioche buns; croissants and other pastries also made in-house; toasts, salads and sandwiches; and dinnertime options such as charcuterie boards, desserts, wine and beer. The owners note that they're committed to sustainable, ethically sourced coffee beans, which they'll use to make creative espresso drinks and cold-brew blends.
Austin and Arizona appear to be a theme at 9+CO; joining Hopdoddy from Texas will be another Front Range addition for Chuy's, the Tex-Mex eatery with the Elvis theme. And Arizona restaurateur Sam Fox, who already operates North Italia and Flower Child locations in Boulder and Denver, will add two more of his concepts, Culinary Dropout and Blanco Tacos + Tequila.
Clean Juice will be the first to debut this summer, while Postino, Pizzeria Locale, Frank & Roze and Gelato Boy are expected to open before the end of 2019, according to Continuum Partners and CIM Group, the developers responsible for the project. The others are aiming for spring 2020. That makes a total of ten new establishments to eat and drink for Hale and Congress Park residents. Add to that an AMC movie theater complex and several other retail businesses and services, and 9+CO promises to be a draw for all of Denver — so say goodbye to construction and hello to traffic jams.