The building at 2915 West 44th Avenue has gone dark once again. "We are saddened to say we are no longer able to continue operations and are now closed permanently," reads a note on the Earnest Hall website, as does a caption on its Instagram page. "It has been our great privilege to serve this community for the past 11 years. Thank you for your patronage."
This location right off Federal Boulevard has a long restaurant history. It's where Ernie Capillupo opened Ernie's Supper Club in the '40s. In the ’80s, it became the new home of Jim Sannino's 3 Sons Italian Restaurant, which had opened nearby in 1965. In 2004, Sannino sold the concept to Mike and Susan Scarafiotti, though the building itself remained under Sannino's ownership.
Run by the Scarafiottis, it operated as 3 Sons until 2009, when Joe Vostrejs's Larimer Associates purchased the property from Sannino and 3 Sons moved to 14805 West 64th Avenue in Arvada, where it's still slinging pasta and pizza today. Vostrejs and company resurrected the spirit of Ernie Capillupo, reopening the space as Ernie's Bar & Pizza in 2009.
As Ernie's under Larimer Associates, the place earned a reputation as a neighborhood go-to for pizza, drinks and throwback history. And all was well on the corner of 44th and Eliot Street...until Mother Nature intervened. A June 2018 hailstorm forced the restaurant to close for what was supposed to be only roof repairs.
But a short closure turned into nearly two years and a $1.2 million remodeling job as the group, now under the name City Street Investors, decided to transform the space into Earnest Hall, adding a coffee counter in place of the old Skee-Ball machines, new kitchen equipment including two Hot Rocks stone ovens, and a more open layout.
"We got hit with hail and knew we had to shut it down, but then Joe and Rod [Wagner] got a serious offer on the building, so we had to wait for that to play out," explained proprietor and chef Sterling Robinson when Earnest Hall finally opened in late February 2020.
Yeah, late February: Earnest Hall was open for exactly 21 days before Governor Jared Polis ordered bars and restaurants to close to indoor dining as of March 17. The restaurant quickly made the switch to curbside pick-up and delivery, reopened for socially distant dine-in service on June 1, 2020, and added tents in the parking lot for outdoor dining. Then on September 27, 2020, another temporary closure was announced and Earnest Hall's social media went dark.
Earnest Hall didn't reopen until March 24, but that didn't last long. Now the place is dark again (City Street Investors hasn't yet responded to our request for comment), and Ernie Capillupo's legacy is once again only a memory.
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