The owners of the Cheeky Monk Belgian Beer Cafe and Lost Highway Brewing next door are closing the restaurant after ten years and moving the brewery to a new location, where they will begin canning beer. The restaurant shut its doors today, while the brewery will stay open through the summer.
James and Tina Pachorek, who carved a new niche into Denver's beer scene when they opened the Cheeky Monk on East Colfax Avenue in 2007, said they have sold the building that houses both businesses to an out-of-state developer; they will use the money to finance the new production brewery.
"For the past fifteen years, James and I have been building craft brands. Now that we have our own brewery, it's time to start building our own brand," Tina Pachorek says of the couple's restaurant experience, which dates back further than the Cheeky Monk. "Every restaurant we opened was for the beer. I don't think we ever wanted to be restaurateurs. We wanted to bring great beer to customers."
At one time, the Pachoreks also owned Cheeky Monk locations in Westminster and Winter Park, along with a bar in Aurora called the Royal Hilltop. The Cheeky Monk restaurants specialized in Belgian-style fare and served an enormous variety of Belgian and American craft brands.
"It's a bittersweet thing, to let something go that you've done for ten years," Tina adds. "But I can't tell you how excited we are to be giving 100 percent of our time to help building the Lost Highway brand."
Lost Highway Brewing opened in September 2014 after three years of delays; it also specializes in Belgian-style beers. tina says that she and James are closing in on a new location for the brewery, where they will have space to expand production and add a canning line. They will start by packaging four core beers.
The brewery will continue to make and serve beer at its existing location until the new location is ready — possibly by the end of the summer. Then they will move the equipment and open the new spot.
A statement about the changes notes that the Pachoreks "have been instrumental in the Denver beer scene, bringing a variety of the world’s finest beers, many brewed in Belgium, to Denver. Not an easy task, but one that allowed them to bring people together to share their knowledge and passion for fine beers.
"James was knighted by the Knighthood of the Brewers’ Mash Staff for their work in importing Belgian beers," the statement continues. "In addition, Tina has worked closely with the Denver Police Department and the Colfax Business Improvement District to improve Colfax. They will continue sharing their passion for beer through the expansion of their brewery."