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8 Rivers will dry up in LoDo this weekend

At the end of service on Saturday, October 29, 8 Rivers Modern Caribbean Restaurant will close the doors for good at 1550 Blake Street, its third location -- but not its last.

After opening their first restaurant, the Jamaican Cafe, in Santa Monica, California, chef Scott Durrah and his wife, Wanda James, moved to Colorado and opened the original 8 Rivers in Rock Creek, outside of Boulder, in 2005. The next year, they moved the restaurant to Highland Square, to a spot that's now home to Venue . And three years ago, they moved 8 Rivers to the heart of LoDo, to the 1500 block of Blake Street that's seen a lot of restaurant action -- but also has high rents, inspiring the couple to look for "more equitable space," James says.

And so the 8 Rivers in LoDo is drying up.

Even though they've gotten very involved in the medical marijuana edibles business (read William Breathes's cover story on Scott Durrah's pot-cooking classes here), the couple definitely isn't giving up on restaurants. "Everything is good," promises James. "Jerk chicken will always be on the menu. There will be another 8 Rivers. Chef Scott loves what we do, loves Denver, and can't wait to get the customers in the new place..."

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Make that new places, because the couple is looking at opening a second restaurant concept in addition to the revived 8 Rivers. A deal could be sealed on at least one of those ventures as early as November 1.

In the meantime, the restaurant closed Tuesday night for a staff party, and the annual 8 Rivers celebration of Bob Marley's birthday this weekend will go on as planned -- though with perhaps a little more poignance than usual. "Closing a restaurant is like saying goodbye to a good friend," says Durrah.

A version of this story was included in yesterday's Cafe Bites, our weekly restaurant e-mail newsletter. To subcribe, sign up here.

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