Earlier this month, Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge announced that it will be moving from its longtime home at 930 Lincoln Street to big new digs in the former home of Baur's Restaurant & Listening Lounge, which recently closed downtown after two years in the historic O.P. Baur Confectionery building. With the move, Dazzle inherits a spacious kitchen and a larger dining room, so the food will be as important to drawing customers as the music.
Owner Donald Rossa has brought on Mario Godoy as executive chef and partner to oversee the new Dazzle's kitchen, and current chef BJ Erickson will also stay on, so regular customers won't be in for too much of a shock. Godoy has been with Piatti in Cherry Creek for more than twenty years, starting out as a dishwasher in the mid-1990s. At the time, Rossa had an ownership stake in the Italian restaurant and saw leadership potential in Godoy, so put him on the line to learn the ropes.
The chef moved up quickly and became executive chef at Piatti five years after starting there; since then he's traveled to Italy with the company, sometimes staying for as long as a month to perfect his pasta-making skills. As a native of Guadalajara, Mexico, Godoy also hopes to introduce some Latin flair to Dazzle's menu.
Rossa says his passion for running a jazz-themed restaurant comes from his upbringing around cooking and music, so he plans to continue with Dazzle's legacy in the new location. "It has always been a combination of food and music — and community," he explains. Despite being a world-famous jazz club, Dazzle has always maintained a neighborhood vibe, serving up a brunch buffet on the weekends and working with regional high school and university music programs to bring in young talent.
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Because of the new location's long history as a confectionery, restaurant and soda shop, Rossa says he hopes to honor that history with ice cream, soda drinks and craft cocktails from bar manager Eric Whelan. He also notes that the bar won't be Prohibition-era, but will draw inspiration from the late 1800s, when Baur's first opened.
"One thing that's important to us is that we're all-ages," he adds.
Dazzle will continue to host jazz acts into May and will serve its last weekend brunch on May 21, which will be a benefit for the National Alliance for Mental Illness. Beginning on May 23, Rossa will host a series of benefit concerts at the new location, and then the full restaurant, bar and listening lounge will open to the public on June 1.
And while Baur's closed last month as a restaurant, the Music Appreciation Society has continued to sponsor jazz shows in the space. Those will continue; see the schedule and purchase tickets at eventbrite.com.