Collectively, four decades of food history in Denver will come to an end this weekend with the closure of Nooch Vegan Market and Rosemary Cafe.
Nooch Vegan Market, the plant-based grocery store at 10 East Ellsworth Avenue, will shutter its doors for good on Saturday, May 14, at 6 p.m. Originally launched as a market pop-up, Nooch was established by owner Vanessa Gochnour as a tiny specialty shop selling vegan food, cosmetics and clothing in RiNo in 2012; in 2014, it moved to the Golden Triangle neighborhood.
Now, Gochnour says, it's time to shutter the doors of the decade-old grocery store for good. "The last couple of years with the pandemic have been overwhelming; we've continued to see supply-chain and shipping issues," she explains. "Ten years [in business] started to feel like a nice round number. The pandemic took some wind out of our sails, and I wanted to go out before things got dire. I wanted to be able to pay people and pay my bills."
While Nooch was the only completely vegan grocery store in Colorado for a decade, Gochnour notes the difference in demand for vegan products in the last ten years is "like night and day. You can get vegan options at gas stations now. There's vegan food and vegan options everywhere; it's way more widely available in every grocery store. ... It has been incredible to see."
Nooch will be open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, May 13 (with appearances from Wong Way Veg and Best One Yet food trucks); and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 14 (Mu Denver food truck will be in attendance).
Meanwhile, on the west side of town, Denver loses another diner: Rosemary Cafe is serving its last plate of classic American diner food on Sunday, May 15. Massive chicken fried steak and dinnertime pancakes have been coming out of the kitchen at 2133 South Sheridan Boulevard since 1992. Rosemary was co-founded by Gerasimos "Mike" Apergis, who was also part-owner of the now-closed Breakfast King before he died on September 2, 2021, according to his obituary.
The following message appeared on the thirty-year-old cafe's Facebook page on Tuesday, May 10:
"The Rosemary family would like to share with all of you that as of May 15th, 2022 the current owners of Rosemary’s Cafe will be stepping down and passing the restaurant to new owners. As of Sunday, May 15th, Rosemarys will unfortunately be closed and it is out of our hands when or if it will reopen.
We want to take this time to say thank you to all of our valued customers, those who have come once and those we see weekly or more, without you these Greek’s dreams would have not been successful.
To our wonderful staff, current and past, we couldn’t have done this without you either. We thank you for your loyalty and treating our customers as family.
Change and goodbyes are hard and we will miss seeing all of you as much as you will miss Rosemary’s as it has been for so many years. Rosemary’s has been a part of many families and seen our families grow for many years. While we don’t know all of the new owners plans, we know it is now time for us to focus on our families and close this chapter of our lives. We are sad to say goodbye, and we hope that you all understand this decision was made with our families best interest in mind. Thank you all for making Rosemary’s what it was."
A message posted on Thursday, May 12 notes that owner George Moraitis worked at the cafe "6 days a week for 30 years," and is ready for retirement. It also says that, "He named it Rosemary Cafe because on the side of his house in Greece there were rosemary plants and it remained him of home."
Rosemary Cafe will be open for business from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Sunday, May 15.
So where can you get good diner food in Denver these days? Check out this list of twenty options.