There's no question that the restaurant industry is still struggling as the coronavirus pandemic rages on. But a mild winter and the partial reopening of dining rooms has made January just a little more bearable than December. Still, many eateries are choosing to stay closed until Denver has better patio weather, more widespread vaccinations and safer projections from government agencies.
Despite the challenges, few restaurants decided to call it quits permanently last month. The Denver Diner and Hearth & Dram had already closed, but in January revealed their decisions to officially throw in the kitchen towel permanently. While the Denver Diner had operated at partial capacity from June to November, it closed for good on November 20, when dining rooms were declared off-limits; the owners have left room for the possibility of opening in a new location in the future. Hearth & Dram never reopened after closing in March, though it originally planned to make a comeback this spring. But the Hotel Indigo, where the restaurant was located, has confirmed that the closure is permanent and that a new concept will take Hearth & Dram's place.
More surprising than the small number of closings is the large number of new eateries springing up in the new year — many of them actual brick-and-mortar restaurants. In fact, of the businesses that debuted in January, almost all of them have addresses, and one is even a straight-up bar. Dirty Laundry opened in the Central Park neighborhood with just enough food on its menu of "adult Lunchables" to qualify under current COVID regulations (bars without food can't be open right now, unless they have a truck out front or another acceptable arrangement), but it's the kind of place where you can grab a Miller High Life stubby, some cheese curds and a shot (though if you're from Wisconsin, you'll probably opt for a brandy Old Fashioned) — which is exactly the kind of place many of us are craving right now.
For those still hanging out mostly at home, food from ghost kitchens — such as Chicken Out, Smokin' Ace and Unofficial Translation — are good options, and other new places like Knox Pizza & Tap are relying heavily on takeout and delivery for now.
Here's our complete list of restaurant and bar openings and closings in January 2021:
Restaurants and Bars Opening in January*
Aladdin Mediterranean Grill, 3550 West 38th Avenue
Tous Le Jours, 5024 West 92nd Avenue, Westminster
The Urban Cookie, 2260 East Colfax Avenue
Brockmeyer's, 6340 West Mississippi Avenue, Lakewood
Chicken Out (from Inga's Alpine Tavern), 5151 Leetsdale Drive
Cumin Express, 12501 East 17th Avenue, Aurora
Danger Zone Calzones, 32 Broadway
Del Mar by Rooted (at Avanti Food & Beverage), 3200 Pecos Street
Dirty Laundry, 2955 Ulster Street, Denver
The Doughnut Club, 7281 West Alaska Drive, Lakewood
Hopdoddy 9+Co, 4024 East Eighth Place
Knox Pizza & Tap, 100 Knox Court
Nak'd Neck Food Truck, mobile
Pandemic Donuts (at Queen City Collective Coffee), 2962 Welton Street
Randall's, 3349 York Street
The Rotary, 217 South Holly Street
Seasoned Swine, 15800 West Colfax Avenue, Golden
Smokin' Ace, delivery only
Unofficial Translation (from Bang Up to the Elephant and Beatrice + Woodsley), 1310 Pearl Street and 38 South Broadway
Restaurants and Bars Closing in January*
Denver Diner, 740 West Colfax Avenue
Hearth & Dram, 1801 Wewatta Street
Pieology, 1147 Broadway
Revelry Kitchen, 3901 Tennyson Street
*Or earlier, and not previously reported.
Do you know of any openings or closings that aren't on our list? Let us know in the comments, or send a message to email@example.com.