The Halcyon Hotel and its anchor restaurants, Departure and Quality Italian, opened at 245 Columbine Street just two and a half years ago. But in our current cutthroat restaurant scene, anything more than a few months old is yesterday's news, even if most Denver residents still look at the growth surge in Cherry Creek as an almost overnight phenomenon.
While Quality Italian's classic decor and instantly familiar menu made it a hit from the beginning, Departure's futuristic dining room and globe-trotting menu from Portland chef Gregory Gourdet made it a little more challenging for diners. Still, the place had its fans — us included, since Departure's Southeast Asian offerings frequently appeared on our lists of the best dishes in Denver.
But the Halcyon, which was opened by Sage Hospitality Group, was sold today, and the new owner, Rockbridge Capital, apparently doesn't share our love. So Sage Restaurant Group, which operates independently of the hotel company, is pulling the plug on Departure. Here's the message from the company on the Departure website:
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For the past 3 years Sage Restaurant Group has been privileged to serve the Denver and Cherry Creek community at Departure Restaurant + Lounge, which operates out of the Halcyon Hotel. The Halcyon Hotel has sold and with a heavy heart, we announce that Departure no longer has a space to call home in Cherry Creek.
At Departure Restaurant + Lounge we strived to create a community that brought people together. We were the venue for celebrations large and small where friends were made, and lives were changed. Although an end, it is also the beginning of a new one for Sage Restaurant Group. There are many exciting opportunities in the works for Departure and we look forward to serving the Denver community in the near future.
On behalf of the staff at Departure Restaurant + Lounge and Sage Restaurant Group we thank you for dining at our restaurant, supporting our causes, voting us as Denver’s top 25 restaurants over the past two years and making Departure the institution that it has become.
We hope you will join us at one of our Sage Restaurant Group locations soon. sagerestaurantgroup.com.
The Departure space, attached to the north side of the Halcyon's lobby, will be closed for the next several weeks before emerging with a new look and a new (and currently undisclosed) identity.
"Based on the restaurants’ success in Cherry Creek, the Sage Restaurant Group team is scouting new locations in the Denver metropolitan area and looks forward to serving the Denver community in the near future," the company announced in a separate press release, adding "Any gift cards purchased at Departure can be redeemed at any Sage Restaurant Group location in Denver and across the country, including Departure’s flagship location in Portland, Oregon."
Updated at 12:30 p.m. on March 11: This story was updated to note that Rockbridge Capital also purchased the B & GC brand (the speakeasy located in the depths of the Halcyon) in a deal finalized today.