I got word last night from Charlie Master that the last location of the Master family restaurant empire is finally closing. Mel’s Bistro, at 1120 East Sixth Avenue, has been on the block for some time now, and while many of Denver’s big names were rumored to have looked into it, the space finally went to Steve Mursuli, who plans on turning it into a Cuban concept called Mojito’s.
Mel’s occupies a spot that, decades ago, was part of the Masters family’s original restaurant group. It was called Dudley’s then, and Mel and Jane Master owned it along with partner Blair Taylor. Dudley’s went the way of the dodo decades ago; Taylor ran Chives at that address for many years before closing it and moving a couple dozen blocks further east and opening Barolo Grill. The space then became Piscos until a few years ago, when it again became available. The Masters snatched it right up, turning it first into a California-style restaurant called Montecito, then later restyled it as Mel’s Bistro after they closed the original Mel’s in Cherry Creek.
At the same time, they had a couple of places in Greenwood Village that went through multiple concepts. And earlier this year, they handed Mel's over to son Charlie, who was in the process of turning it into a version of his own now-closed Cherry Creek restaurant, Brix, when the Masters family finally decided that retreat was the better part of valor in this economy and put the space up for sale. The Greenwood Village restaurants have already been sold.
Confused? Yeah, it’s been a long, strange trip. But what’s important here is that Saturday will be the last night of business at Mel’s Bistro, and Charlie will be there, pouring off the last of the wine and liquor that he needs to get rid of before the space goes dark for the Mojito's remodel.
“You should totally come down!” Charlie told me. “It’s going to be a party.” -- Jason Sheehan