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Reader: Why Replace Bones With Another Trendy Fried-Chicken Joint?
Mark Antonation

Reader: Why Replace Bones With Another Trendy Fried-Chicken Joint?

At the end of service on June 29, Frank Bonanno closed Bones, the Asian-inspired eatery at 701 Grant Street that kicked off Denver's decade-and-going noodle craze back in 2008.

Bonanno has no intention of relinquishing the prime restaurant real estate, though. Instead, he plans to bring Nashville-style hot chicken to the neighborhood by resurrecting the Lou's Food Bar name (from his restaurant that ran for seven years in Sunnyside before Bonanno sold that property in 2017), only with a tighter menu similar to that of the Lou's Hot | Naked counter inside Denver Milk Market, the chef's solo-effort food hall.

The most common response to the news? "Noooo!" Other readers got more specific. Says Sabrina: 

No more escargot potstickers!

Adds Laura: 

Damn. I loved their buns and lobster ramen ????

Replies Josh: 

Bones was so damned good. Now another trendy fried chicken joint. Great.

Suggests Dane:

Such a terrible idea. Bones was fantastic; my favorite ramen spot in town (yes, I've been to Uncle).

Adds Terrie: 

Makes sense to change now with so many more options for ramen, but hot chicken seems like a, well, um, not great fad to go after.

Says Mark: 

Hope the new place is better than the Milk Market. The new concept is no replacement for the old Lou’s.

Responds Sean:  

I don’t get the negative comments. One, Bones was great, but yea, in summer it’s tough to sell ramen. Two, we should be backing local restaurateurs, not bashing them, especially before we try the new concept. Three, there’s no such thing as too many fried chicken spots; I lived in that neighborhood for ten years, and there are no fast casual fried chicken joints within walking distance. Four, fried chicken is great year-round. Five, tater tots are the greatest side ever, and no one has them. There’s a lot of new people in the area who do not understand that Frank was the first to bring bao buns to the Cap Hill neighborhood, and was and is instrumental into growing the food scene in the neighborhoods and across Denver. Everyone talks about how great the food scene has become in Denver, and they say that because it was boring. And it would still be boring without Frank starting the movement. So for all you new residents of Denver, all your favorite restaurants are full of people who started and learned from Frank Bonanno.

Adds Eric: 

Taking nothing away from the success of Frank Bonanno, but Denver was a great food scene before Bones even opened, thanks to restaurants like Sushi Sasa, Masterpiece Delicatessen, Interstate and the plethora of Asian, New Mexican, Ethiopian, and Mexican joints in and around metro Denver. RIP Taki's on Colfax....

Bonanno is definitely an experienced restaurateur, and he didn't make this move lightly. "The brand of Lou's and the hot chicken and sandwiches — it's something we're good at," Bonanno told Mark Antonation, noting that the neighborhood demographic has changed and residents are looking for something "a little faster, a little less expensive" than Bones.

So fried-chicken sandwiches will be a big part of Lou's Food Bar when the space reopens on July 22, after a refresh and rebranding of the corner eatery. And there will also be chicken tenders, tots, mac and cheese and mashed potatoes, as well as salads, wraps and other lighter choices. Bonanno says he plans to introduce daily specials, too, possibly with a "back door" pickup option to make things easier for families placing larger orders.

What do you think of the changes in the neighborhood? Did you go to Bones? Post a comment or email cafe@westword.com.

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