If you considered yourself a Denver Diner regular, then it feels like forever since the 24-hour greasy spoon suddenly closed its doors after a kitchen fire. In reality, it's been just under a year since the popular diner at 740 West Colfax Avenue, a classic '60s-era White Spot that was purchased by the Skordos family in 1990, shuttered for a major rehab. But the Denver Diner is finally reopening today, and it looks better than ever after a million-dollar, head-to-toe remodel.
The favorite hangout has managed to hold on to much of its classic diner charm while stepping into the modern restaurant era. Shiny booths, silver dining chairs and swivel stools keep the Denver Diner feeling familiar, while a liquor license, a sleek little cash register and massive flatscreen TVs are all new additions. The old chrome cash register sits on display as a testament to the diner's past, but the equally recognizable pie case is back in action.
The kitchen looks as good as the front of the house, with new appliances and easy-to-clean stainless steel wall-plating. Gone are the hardwoods in the dining room, but the spacious waiting area sparkles. The old phone-booth cave is also gone, its space absorbed by the remodeled bathrooms. The men's and women's facilities have switched sides and you now need a code to get into the restroom, but once you've opened the door, you'll be amazed. No longer is it a fight to stand at the sink while someone tries to enter or exit a stall; the restrooms have been renovated and expanded — and made accessible, as has the rest of the diner.
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Another change in the works is a new exterior sign, which will replace the neon with LED lighting. The menu has been tweaked a bit, too, but it still features a good variety of breakfast offerings, sandwiches, salads, Mexican fare and diner staples like chicken-fried steak and spaghetti and meatballs. Brunch-inspired drink specials will surely lure folks in on the weekends, but there's no doubt this place will be hopping regardless of the time of day, serving up quick and hot business lunches on the weekdays and welcoming the post-bar crowd after 2 a.m. on weekends.
The Denver Diner has been buzzing for weeks as new employees are trained and soft-opening meals are served to test out the new menu items and get servers trained, and an almost constant stream of folks have been wandering in, trying to get a table. Now today's the day: The Denver Diner will officially return to its 24/7 schedule (except for Christmas). Welcome back, old friend.