The story this month is not the volume of openings (which was definitely high), but the number of big-name closings throughout Denver, including three breweries, a sector that once seemed immune to the economic forces that govern other food and drink establishments.
But then again, nobody's really safe in the hospitality industry, not even seasoned veterans and seemingly stable national chains. Mila, which restaurateur Kevin Taylor opened last September on the ground floor of the downtown Denver Place, is now closed. Taylor is no stranger to the cycle of openings and closings; over the past few years, he's also expanded beyond his typical downtown domain with Masa Cocina Mexican and Hickory & Ash in Broomfield's Arista development.
In LoHi, Marcella's shuttered after less than two years. According to parent company Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, the Ohio-based group that also runs two Ocean Prime locations, (downtown and in the Denver Tech Center), the Italian eatery just wasn't performing up to corporate standards. McCormick's & Schmick's Seafood & Steaks closed in the Denver Tech Center (the location in the Oxford Hotel dried up two years ago). In Greenwood Village, Brett Shaheen's delightful eatery The Wooden Table (one of the best restaurants in all of Denver's suburbs), closed without notice, following the departure of the chef's other restaurant, Brodo, earlier this spring from Belmar. Other longtime favorites Interstate Kitchen & Bar, 1515 Restaurant and Purple Door Coffee also closed in May.
But still, chefs and restaurateurs keep bringing us new ideas and great food. Bacon Social House opened its second metro eatery in Littleton, right across the street from the Littleton Municipal Courthouse. Brisket boss Karl Fallenius finally launched Owlbear Barbecue in RiNo after many travails, and tattoo artist John Slaughter welcomed guests to Pistol Whip on Santa Fe Drive.
Here's our complete list of restaurant and bar openings and closings for May 2019: