Thirty years ago this month, Peggy Anderson and Diane Williams opened Annie's Cafe in a storefront attached to a drug store at Eighth Avenue and Colorado Boulevard. "About ten people came that first day," Anderson remembers.
But those ten customers turned into a crowd of regulars and today, the women are still in business, serving up burgers, sandwiches, malts and shakes, and Southwest classics, albeit from a different location at 3100 East Colfax Avenue, the former home of Goodfriends.
"It's like a marriage," says Anderson of the partnership. "There've been ups and downs."
And challenges, like the one that came when the original building was slated for a now-stalled redevelopment. That prompted the move to Colfax in June 2008, where the restaurant has continued to serve the same crowd of regulars -- and a whole new crew of diners.
But other than the location change -- and full liquor license that came with it -- things at Annie's have remained relatively constant. "A lot of our employees have been here almost thirty years," says Anderson. Those loyal cooks and servers are rewarded with a dish on the menu that's named after them -- like the Norma Jean burger, which pays homage to the first Annie's waitress.
The eatery celebrated its thirtieth birthday with a party last Wednesday, where it served champagne, appetizers, Twinkies and Hostess Cupcakes to the legions of devotees that packed the place -- far more than that original ten.
"Oh, my God," says Anderson. "In all, we probably had 500."
Happy thirtieth, Annie's. Many happy returns.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.