Have El Diablo and Sketch reached the end of the line? According to El Diablo's Facebook page, the restaurants will be closing at the end of business tonight: "Please come by and send us off in style!!!" This is the culmination -- maybe -- of a ten-month-long fight with the city, which started with the First Avenue Hotel, which houses both restaurants, being slapped with a notice to vacate last July because the building was "unsafe." And after a final hearing before the Board of Appeals last week, the city again served Jesse Morreale, owner of the First Avenue Hotel and its restaurants, with a notice that he and his businesses would have to vacate by May 3.
Here's the message now posted on Facebook:
It is with heavy hearts that we are announcing that tonight, May 2, will be El Diablo and Sketch Food & Wine's last day of business.
This closure has nothing to do with the restaurants themselves, we have been operating safely and successfully for over 4 years. Morreale Hotels, the owner of the building, and the restaurants simply can no longer contend with what we believe has been a predetermined course by the City of Denver since July 2012 to see that the building be closed and these great restaurants be put out of business. Even though we believe it is unquestionable that the City's actions have been arbitrary and capricious, the damage that has been inflicted upon our resources and operations is too severe for us to recover from and we have no choice but to close.
We are heartbroken at this turn of events and the cost, not just to the businesses and to the community surrounding them, but to our loyal and hard-working staff that will be losing their jobs as a result.
We'd like to thank you all for the years of loyal support and patronage, and invite you to join us tonight to say goodbye to the restaurants we all love that have contributed so much to the revitalization of Broadway and were the anchor for helping to restore the once blighted 1st Ave Hotel.
We want to extend our heartfelt hanks to each and every one of you for the great memories -- we will miss you all!