Openings and Closings

Restaurant Roll Call: Every Restaurant That Opened and Closed in January

Mad Toast is one of the concepts at the Coark Collective food hall.
Mad Toast is one of the concepts at the Coark Collective food hall. Molly Martin
January temperatures might have been frigid, but metro Denver's dining scene was as hot as ever, with more than thirty openings. From Coark Collective, a new food hall focused on Korean specialties, to a Chinese/Indian concept (Inchin's), to spots serving ramen, hot pot and more, the area's Asian culinary options continue to grow at a rapid pace, particularly in suburbs ranging from Centennial to Broomfield and Aurora. (A new event is the ideal occasion for exploring many of these spots: the first-ever Mile High Asian Food Week, February 22 to 26.)

Last month also brought a trio of comebacks. Las Tortas moved into a bigger, brighter new space in Glendale after exiting its former home on Leetsdale. El Chingon opened its new location on Central Street over a year after shuttering the Tennyson space it had outgrown. And in Evergreen, El Rancho is once again serving Colorado classics under new ownership, with restaurateur Frank Bonanno heading up operations at the historic spot that got its start in 1948. Bonanno Concepts also opened a bar dubbed Salita in the former Lou's Food Bar space on Grant Street.

Other established restaurant owners added new ventures as well. The team behind Aloy Modern Thai debuted its fast-casual offshoot after months of permitting delays. Jared Leonard, whose Stone Soup Hospitality Group also owns Grabowski's, AJ's Pit Bar-B-Q and Au Feu Brasserie, opened a second location of Campfire in Lakewood; the original is in Evergreen.

Chef Mary Nguyen, who has been focused on expanding Olive & Finch for the past decade, added Little Finch to the mix, an all-day cafe and bakery at Blake and 16th streets. Western Daughters, known for its butcher shop on Tejon Street, also got into the cafe game with a new spot serving healthy bowls on the CSU Spur Campus at the National Western Complex.
The borscht at Molotov is made with sour cherries instead of beets.
Molly Martin
Two of the most anticipated openings of the year also happened in January.

The 2023 James Beard restaurant and chef award semifinalists announced last month once again showed that Colorado is loaded with talent, with thirteen nominations. Kelly Whitaker of Id Est Hospitality is a semifinalist for Restaurateur of the Year, while chef Michael Diaz de Leon of the group's BRUTØ is among those in the running for Best Chef: Mountain Region. The news came right after the opening of Id Est's latest venture, Hey Kiddo, which also includes a back bar called Ok Yeah and the Rooftop, an outdoor space overlooking Tennyson.

And chef Bo Porytko, who built his reputation with super-creative fare at the now-closed Rebel and then Misfit Snack Bar inside Middleman, is a semifinalist in the Emerging Chef category for Misfit. He also just opened the long-anticipated Molotov Kitschen, a small eatery in the former To the Wind Bistro space, where he's serving Eastern European fare with a side of Porytko's signature whimsy.

The local dining scene also saw more than twenty closures.The former 4 G's on South Broadway in Englewood reopened as Chula, only to be shut down shortly afterward when a car crashed into the building on January 18. Chula hopes to reopen in the coming weeks.

Bistro Vendôme, which had to close its longtime Larimer Square location because of upcoming construction, will return as well; it's reopening soon in Park Hill. Ice cream favorite Right Cream is on the move, too, leaving its Dairy Block alley as it prepares to take over the Yum Yum's space on South Downing Street.

Many of the closures are permanent, though, including Winston's Smoke BBQ in Centennial, which was founded by late Pro Football Hall of Famer Winston Hill; the joint has a legacy that reaches back over four decades, to the original spot on Colorado Boulevard. The Centennial location was run by his daughters, who announced the closing with this: "It has been an honor to serve you. We will now carry on Winston Hill's legacy of paying it forward in a new way. Please consider making a gift to the 'Winston Hill - Finish Like a Pro Scholarship Fund!'"

Here's the complete list of restaurants and bars that opened and closed in January:

click to enlarge
El Rancho dates back to 1948.
Brandon Marshall
Restaurants and bars that opened in January:*

1908 An Uptown Eatery, 1320 East 17th Avenue
Aloy Thai Eatery
, 211 East Seventh Avenue
Alpine Dog Brewing Company, 1308 East 17th Avenue
Bitcoin Grill, 970 South Oneida Street
Campfire Lakewood, 840 Tabor Street, Lakewood
Cirque Kitchen, 3501 Wazee Street
Coark Collective Food Hall, 15775 East Arapahoe Road, Centennial
The Crow's Nest, 4200 Tennyson Street
El Chingon Bistro, 1691 Central Street
El Rancho, 29260 U.S. 40, Evergreen
Hey Kiddo/Ok Yeah/The Rooftop, 4337 Tennyson Street
I Heart Mac & Cheese, 8801 East Montview Boulevard
Inchin's Bamboo Garden, 12073 East Arapahoe Road, Centennial
Kalaka Mexican Kitchen Berkeley, 4528 Tennyson Street
Kirin Hot Pot, 6600 West 120th Avenue, Broomfield
Kodiac Brewery Bar & Grill, 7685 East Arapahoe Road, Centennial
La Esmeralda Tamale House, 1801 Hover Street, Longmont
Las Tortas, 682 South Colorado Boulevard
Little Finch, 1490 16th Street Mall
Mangiami, 5614 Olde Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada
Mestizo Brew Cantina, 6800 West 38th Avenue, Wheat Ridge
Molotov Kitschen + Cocktails, 3333 East Colfax Avenue
Neko Ramen & Rice, 4030 Colorado Boulevard
Penelope Coffee Bar, 1801 Blake Street
Pizzeria Locale, 8575 East Arapahoe Road, Greenwood Village
Salita, 701 Grant Street
Status Ultra Lounge, 1822 Blake Street
Stella's Cucina, 1123 Walnut Street, Boulder
Tofu Story, 2060 South Havana Street, Aurora
Tu’s Kitchen, 6500 West 120th Avenue, Broomfield
Western Daughters Kitchen, 4617 National Western Drive

Restaurants and bars that closed temporarily in January:*

Chula, 3866 South Broadway, Englewood
click to enlarge
City Bakery Cafe closed January 5; its location will be developed into an apartment complex.
Molly Martin
Restaurants and bars that closed in January:*

Bistro Vendôme (moving to Park Hill), 1420 Larimer Street
Black Eyed Pea, 1470 South Colorado Boulevard
BookBar, 4280 Tennyson Street
Cheffin's Cheesesteaks, 15473 East Hampden Avenue, Aurora
City Bakery Cafe, 726 Lincoln Street
Coffee at the Point, 710 East 26th Avenue
The District, 1320 East 17th Avenue
Emperor Palace, 6700 West 120th Avenue, Broomfield
Epic Brewing, 3001 Walnut Street
FNG, 3940 West 32nd Avenue
Green Russell, 1422 Larimer Street
Howdy Bar, 2811 Walnut Street
Little Brazil (moving to a new location), 10081 West 26th Avenue, Wheat Ridge
Lou's Food Bar, 710 Grant Street
ND Street Bar, 1700 Wynkoop Street, and 100 North College Avenue, Fort Collins
Pizzeria Locale, 1730 Pearl Street, Boulder
Right Cream, 1825 Blake Street (moving to South Downing)
Russell's Smokehouse, 1422 Larimer Street
Smith + Canon, 2260 East Colfax Avenue
Street Feud, 5410 East Colfax Avenue
Wah Gwaan Brewing Company, 925 West Eighth Avenue
Winston's Smoke BBQ, 5090 East Arapahoe Road, Centennial

*Or earlier and not previously reported.

Know of something we missed? Email [email protected].
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Molly Martin is the Westword Food & Drink editor. She’s been writing about the dining scene in Denver since 2013, and was eating her way around the city long before that. She enjoys long walks to the nearest burrito joint and nights spent sipping cocktails on Colfax.
Contact: Molly Martin

Latest Stories