It's official: On March 15, Denver City Council approved the MCE-DIA LLC proposal from Michigan-based Midfield Concession Enterprises and partners Smashburger and Tivoli Brewing to put a craft brewery in the new Westin Denver International Airport Hotel, a coffee bar by the new DIA transit center, and two burger spots on concourses B and C. It's the largest food-and-beverage contract that DIA has ever awarded, and it did so despite concerns expressed by local restaurateurs and brewers over the process.
The new, full-service Smashburger restaurants will occupy the 3,573- and 2,317-square-foot spaces on concourses B and C that currently house Lefty’s Mile High Bar and Grill and Lefty’s Front Range Grill. (MCE says it will offer jobs to the 85 employees of Lefty’s.) In addition to providing table service, these Smashburgers will serve breakfast and offer an expanded menu on top of traditional Smashburger offerings; they will also have full-service bars, with specialty cocktails and ten beers on tap, including a selection of local craft beers. (The only other local Smashburger to have a liquor license, the outpost on 16th Street, no longer serves alcoholic beverages.)
“We are excited for our relationship with MCE-DIA LLC and for MCE to bring Smashburger’s better burgers to our hometown airport for the first time,” said Rick Schaden, Smashburger co-founder and chairman, in a statement released today. “As we continue our rapid expansion of restaurants in non-traditional spaces like airports and casino locations, we look forward to the opening of the first Denver airport location and giving travelers the opportunity to taste local Denver flavors as they come and go from our hometown.”
The MCE-DIA deal is for ten years; Tom's Urban, a restaurant brand developed and operated by Consumer Concept Group, which owns Smashburger, will join with Tivoli Brewing on the craft-brewery project at the Westin Denver International Airport Hotel.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.