Openings and Closings

Chef Justin Brunson Closes Masterpiece Luncheonette

Uptown is now short one lunch stop for fried-chicken sandwiches and other quick-service eats.
Uptown is now short one lunch stop for fried-chicken sandwiches and other quick-service eats. Mark Antonation
Masterpiece Delicatessen's younger sibling at 1710 Sherman Street in the Uptown neighborhood got a name change and a menu overhaul earlier this year, turning into Masterpiece Luncheonette. But that wasn't enough to boost sales to meet the expectations of chef/owner Justin Brunson and his business partners, so they've closed the eatery in order to focus on other arms of Brunson's company.

Brunson says the Luncheonette was busy, but only between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., when downtown office workers would come in for a quick lunch at the convenient location. Fortunately for fans of the food itself, most of the menu items are available at the chef's other outlets.

The original Masterpiece Deli, at 1575 Central Street, is still going strong with hot and cold sandwiches, while the fried-chicken sandwiches can be found during weekday lunch service at Old Major, when the restaurant opens as Royal Rooster. Brunson says he hopes to offer other popular Luncheonette menu items at Royal Rooster, too.

Closing one restaurant hardly buys the busy chef extra time, as he's getting ready for a fall launch of Rocky Mountain Charcuterie, a wholesale production facility for sausage and cured meats at East 38th Avenue and Steele Street. Brunson has been making cured meats at Old Major — and, more recently, serving them at Culture Meat & Cheese inside the Denver Central Market — for several years, and the new facility will give him a springboard to sell his products to other restaurants and markets.

Meanwhile, Masterpiece Kitchen, which closed in March because of a fire, is still being rebuilt at 84 Rampart Road in Lowry's Hangar 2 development, but Brunson has set no date for that reopening.
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Mark Antonation is the former Westword Food & Drink Editor. In 2018, he was named Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he's now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
Contact: Mark Antonation