Openings and Closings

All-V's, a sandwich-slinging institution, closes on Eighth Avenue

All-V's, a hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop that was loved for its old-school feel and its meaty subs, has closed after more than four decades on East Eighth Avenue. A sign in the window reads: "We put everything we had into All-V's, but unfortunately it just wasn't enough." Another sign, this one posted by Colorado Department of Revenue, reads: "Warning: this property has been seized for nonpayment of taxes."

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The current owners, Eric and Catherine Fontaine, didn't return a call seeking comment, but their sign says the couple hopes to be able to reverse the situation and bring the restaurant back. "We are open to suggestions, ideas and comments," it says, before adding an e-mail address for customers: [email protected]

Joe Cetuk, whose family owned All-V's for 29 years before selling it to the Fontaines in 2010, says the closure was due in part to the disappearance of the University of Colorado's Health Sciences Center and the surrounding hospitals seven years ago.

"There were 10,000 employees over there, so it was hard to recover from that," Cetuk says. "You really had to know we were there after that."

The medical buildings, some of which are right across the street from All-V's, have sat vacant since then, and although demolition has finally started on some of them in advance of new residential construction, it comes too late for the store.

Long before Subway, Quizno's, Snarf's or Heidi's were doing it, All-V's was dishing up hearty hoagies to the workday crowd in its diner-like environment. Some of its specialties included the pepper steak, the steak bomb and the turkey avocado gobbler.

Part of the joy of ordering there was watching the employees make your sandwich on a giant griddle and then lay it out on a big square of wax paper so that customers could add their own parmesan, oregano, red pepper flakes, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Here is the rest of the note posted by the All-V's owners:

All-V's is sorry. To our valued customers: As some of you know, All-Vs has been struggling and in steady decline since the closing of the Med Center (the majority of our business). We had hopes that we could hang on until the redevelopment took place. We put everything we had into All-V's, but unfortunately it just wasn't enough. All-V's has been around for over 45 years and is the last of a dying breed. We did not go out without a fight and will continue to do everything within our power to reverse this. All-V's is not just another sub shop. It is part of Denver and worth the battle to us. It was our pleasure to serve each and every one of you. We hope to you again soon.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes