Years ago, when my teenager was a toddler, we ate at Spanky's Roadhouse more times than I can count. After all, a burger and a shake is every kid's dream dinner. Once Elliott discovered sushi and Thai food, however, the weekly ritual ceased, and we stopped going to Spanky's, which had already started to grow weary, especially as new restaurants continued to pop up near the DU neighborhood, where Spanky's has been a fixture for years. But in late October, the venerable college hangout closed, the result of a high-end makeover, and last week, Spanky's reopened as Spanky's Urban Roadhouse, all brand spanking shiny and new. "Spanky's has grown up," says general manager Matt Flator, adding that the restaurant, which is owned by Dan Shipp and his brothers John and Mike, who also operate Hodsons Bar & Grill, Reiver's Bar & Grill and the Dusty Boot, was completely gutted. In fact, all that remains from the original Spanky's is the logo -- and even that has been spruced up. "We wanted to go for that college feel, but the focus was on building an upscale diner with a retro-urban look," adds Flator.
"Everything -- the flatware, the dishes, the glasses, the floors, the tables the booths -- it's all new," says Flator, noting, too, that the menu, which is executed by executive chef J.D. Brown, who also commands the kitchen at Hodsons Bar & Grill, at the Streets at Southglenn, was completely retooled, as well. So while there are still shakes and burgers on the menu, including a burger heaped with bacon, hash browns and a fried egg, the sum of which is squished between two glazed doughnuts, the menu, stresses Brown, is a "melting pot of everything, most of which is scratch-made" -- and when it's not made in house, it's sourced locally as much as possible. "We're really proud of the fact that we've gotten to the point where we're making so much in house, and we're especially proud of our bakery section," says Brown.
And along with a swell of new foodstuffs (I really liked the latke Reuben), there's a new bar menu, too, with ten draft beers, most of them craft, plus bottles, cans and bombers. Wines, signature cocktails, including several martinis, all of which are poured in sterling sliver martini glasses, and drinks "for sharing," namely a sixty-ounce fish bowl stocked with vodka, rum, blue curacao, fresh pineapple juice, Swedish fish and Nerds and a 48-ounce Beer-Rita with tequila, ensure that college students -- and everyone else -- have plenty of reasons to stagger home. And there's a slew of TVs -- also new -- tuned to sports.
In addition to lunch and dinner, the Roadhouse also added breakfast to its lineup, which begins at 7 a.m. every morning. The kitchen is open until 9 p.m. on Sunday and Monday, 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Here's a sneak peek at the space and several of Brown's new menu items, including that diabolical doughnut burger.
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