Fill 'er up at reFuel, a fast-casual version of Fuel opening next month

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Bob Blair went to City Spirit, a legendary restaurant that will be the focus of Friday's City Spirit Reunion, just once -- "back in the day," he remembers.

But he knows all about the place, since he opened Fuel five years ago come December 31 in the Taxi development, right next to the space where the reunion will be held. And by the time Fuel marks its fifth anniversary, there should be more reason to celebrate: Blair will soon open reFuel, also in the Taxi project. See also: - City Spirit reunion will celebrate that legendary hipster hangout Friday - Bob Blair, owner of Fuel, opening a fast-casual joint in Taxi - Chef and Tell: Bob Blair of Fuel Cafe - Slide show: The Populist, first look

He predicts the place, which he'd originally thought of calling Pit Stop, will be ready within the month. "The floors are in, there's a lot of framework," he says. "The whole look is all reclaimed, recycled."

And what kind of spot will reFuel be? Fuel speeded up, he explains, for people who want a quick bite. Although there will be seating, reFuel will have no table service and no liquor license (for now); prices will also be a little lower than at Fuel, which will serve as the commissary for the new place.

And while reFuel will let diners grab food fast, Blair notes, "we can slow things down at Fuel and focus on more entrees and nicer plates for lunch." Today, for example, the special was pan-seared salmon with wilted escarole. That's the kind of lunch that encourages diners to linger.

A lot has changed at Fuel over the past five years, just as the area around it has changed -- and that will continue, with today's opening of both The Populist and the Infinite Monkey Theorem tap room at 32nd and Larimer streets. In fact, the original energy of City Spirit "is not so different from some of the things that are happening here now," says Mickey Zeppelin, the developer of the Taxi project.

A version of this story originally appeared on Cafe Bites, our e-mail newsletter on the Denver drinking and dining scene that's delivered every Wednesday; find out how to sign up here.

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