California Cafe closes in Park Meadows

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Last year saw nearly 300 restaurant openings on the books -- but 2012 is already kicking off with several closures, including the long-lived Pearl Street Grill, next-door neighbor India's Pearl and nearby Ototo. And now, from the southern suburbs, comes word of another shuttered restaurant.

When Park Meadows opened in 1996, one of the original anchor restaurants was the California Cafe, a gigantic spot devoted to such then-trendy West Coast specialties as fish tacos, angel hair pasta, grilled artichoke and seafood-heavy entrees and appetizers. "We had our preview party at California Cafe," Park Meadows general manager Pam Kelly explains. "It was one of the first places to open here."

But as of January 1, the eatery called it quits on its decade-and-a-half run in the Rocky Mountains. The California Cafe lease was "a fifteen-year lease," says Kelly. "It was an institution, but the parent company doesn't really have any other restaurants in this area, and it doesn't want to be as far-reached out, so the lease renewal fell through." So the place packed it in, shutting the doors for good after service on New Year's Eve.

The mini-chain still has locations in Los Gatos and Palo Alto, California, but Sara Barker, who does marketing for the restaurants' parent company, Tavistock, tells us that it has no definitive plans for reopening a restaurant in Colorado.

And Kelly says while there's been plenty of interest in the space California Cafe vacated, Park Meadows isn't yet ready to announce what will occupy the space -- or whether that new tenant will be a restaurant.

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