I don’t remember the first time I ate at Annie’s Café, but I’m guessing it was 1981 or 1982, shortly after the restaurant opened across the street from my dad’s office at the University of Colorado medical school. My mom recalls being so happy that there was a family place like that so near to where he worked and to where we lived. Twelve years old at the time, I just remember that the booths were good for crawling on. And the hamburgers. Lots of hamburgers over the years.
As I got older, I went there less and less. But on Sunday, June 8, Annie’s last day at 4012 East Eighth Avenue, I decided to have one last burger there.
The place was packed, with a line out the door and couples and groups waiting on benches and on the sidewalk outside. There were families and old folks, and a lot of young couples, many of them younger than Annie’s itself -- all there to say goodbye. The waitresses were busy, but smiling, slinging omelets and breakfast burritos, burgers and root beer floats.I got a burger and fries, or course, and a side of green chile, and a vanilla coke. My wife got a patty melt and chocolate peanut butter shake.
It was a great send-off for an old-school restaurant that will hopefully get new life on Colfax, where it officially reopens on Tuesday, June 17 (although it will have a soft opening on June 14 and 15) in the spot formerly occupied by Goodfriends, 3100 East Colfax Avenue.
Annie’s will take its menu and its decorations, hundreds of antique or retro signs, posters, lunchboxes, toys and other knick -nacks with it to the new spot, but people said goodbye to this location – which will be torn down, along with the attached liquor store and video store, to make way for a hotel – by writing their memories on the bathroom walls with Sharpie markers that someone provided.
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The new Annie’s will have more space, a bigger bar and later hours. I hope the menu and the atmosphere stay the same. I hope they leave the green walls behind. But whatever happens, I hope Annie’s is around long enough to feed and comfort a new generation of kids in Denver. -- Jonathan Shikes