Talk about a sign of the times: El Chile Rojo has closed at 801 Santa Fe Drive, with a sign in the window announcing "Japanese sushi restaurant coming soon."
Back in December 2008, when United Airlines' Hemispheres magazine devoted its "Three Perfect Days" feature to Denver, most of the restaurant/bar picks were the usual suspects -- Duo, the Cruise Room, the Lodge at Sunspot (while skiing at Winter Park), Fruition (after surviving skiing at Winter Park) -- with a few more slightly out-there spots: Snooze (for breakfast), MCA Cafe (while visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art) and Limelight Supper Club (a snack after the theater).
But now El Chile Rojo has been grounded, and sushi will be taking its spot on rapidly gentrying Santa Fe Drive, once the heart of this town's Latino community.
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.