Two years ago, chef Radek Cerny was contemplating closing his Boulder restaurant, L'Atelier, with a plan for moving it to Denver. After being hit with two liquor-license violations within a year, the second of which closed the restaurant for twenty days, the chef was ready to be done with the City of Boulder. But customers convinced him to keep L'Atelier open, even after he launched Atelier by Radex in Dener April 2017.
But now Cerny has closed L'Atelier, posting a final Facebook photo of the restaurant at 1739 Pearl Street, along with the message, "So long Boulder! It was great run for 16 years! We miss you. Come see us in Denver! So long!"
Cerny has been one of the preeminent names in French cuisine for the past three decades in Colorado, starting with the European Cafe in Boulder and then Papillon in Cherry Creek. He also previously operated Radek in Denver and Le Chantecler in Niwot.
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Over the course of his career, Cerny has confounded notions that French cuisine is either stodgy and old-fashioned or precious and fussy. The menu at L'Atelier continues to be neither, instead offering amusing and delicious interpretations of classics. You're as likely to find the chef in his leather cowboy hat and golf shirt as in starched chef's whites, and as apt to be pouring from a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle as he is from a vintage French Champagne.
French cuisine has been on the rise in Denver of late, with Morin, French 75 and LeRoux all opening downtown over the past two years, brought to us by some of Denver's biggest culinary names — chefs Max MacKissock, Frank Bonanno and Lon Symensma, respectively. The area has also seen more casual spots, such as Bistro Georgette at Avanti Food & Beverage and the French Cafe in Boulder.
But at the same time, Boulder's Pearl Street has become a perilous perch for restaurateurs. Along with L'Atelier, other recent closures include Emmerson, Ted's Montana Grill, the Cheesecake Factory, Moongate Asian Bistro, French Quarter Brasserie and the Walrus Saloon.