Jody Johnson has been in the bar business for more than three decades. After owning the Toby Jug in southeast Denver for seven years, he moved to Sedalia and ran the Sedalia Grill for 22 years -- but got tired of the winters down there. "Then a friend of a friend called, who said, 'I hear you might be looking for a new place,'" he remembers. And the friend knew of just the spot, at 1050 West Evans Avenue. So Johnson met with the owner, they came to an agreement, and Johnson reopened the place as Cecil's Cantina -- named for his uncle -- on April 15. See also: Burger time -- a visit to Bud's Bar in Sedalia "Every week, it's steadily gotten better and better," Johnson says of his new business.
Johnson brought a lot of the Sedalia Grill along with him -- including the cooks. "My cooks have been with me for eleven years," he says. "Basically, we brought the food -- the booze is the same wherever you go." And so Cecil's is serving the Mexican food, pizza, burgers and sandwiches that were featured at the Sedalia Grill; Johnson is also smoking pork and chicken at Cecil's on the weekends.
As for the Sedalia Grill, Johnson says it was purchased by some locals, who are turning it into a country-and-western dance hall.
But Johnson isn't out of the country altogether: He still owns the Marina in Kiowa -- which is run by his uncle Cecil.
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Keep reading for more on Cecil's Cantina. For now, Cecil's is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day, and the kitchen is open until 10 p.m. "As soon as I can find more employees," Johnson promises, "we'll be open at 7 a.m."