Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

From Tosh's Hacienda to Kiva to Club Dynasty

Tosh's Hacienda

The flier for the S.O.S. -- Sophisticated.On.Saturdays -- party October 25 says that it will be held in the new Club Dynasty, located in the "old" Kiva Restaurant at 3090 Downing Street, with two floors of dance club and a spelling-impaired dress code: "no hats, white tees, do rags or sports apparell. ladies no tennis shoes, period!"

But Kiva wasn't all that old; it had only occupied the space for a few years before it closed earlier this month. No, the award for longevity goes to the Hacienda, which was at that address for close to fifty years.

And that's only part of the story. During the day -- and despite the fact that the Kiva sign was still above the front door at 1 p.m. today -- the building will house Blackberries Bar & Grill, a spinoff of the very successful Blackberries Ice Cream and Coffee Shop a few blocks away at 710 East 26th Avenue.

Let's hope Blackberries' expansion plans work out better than they did for the Hacienda. Here's the history on that, from Jason Sheehan's January 2005 review:

"Founded in the '40s by the Mackintosh family, La Hacienda -- the name of the original operation -- began as a simple back-porch tamal concession. Yes, a Scottish family making their nickels rolling tamales sounds a lot like a cat working as an astrophysicist, but there's quite a back-story here. The Mackintosh clan were early immigrants to Old Mexico, where they put down roots as ranchers. And they did well, if legend is to be believed, right up until the Mexican Revolution, when Grandpappy Mackintosh was shot down by Zapatistas trying to drive the foreign devils and hacendados out of their ancestral whatever.

"It worked, at least as far as the Mackintoshes were concerned. Salvador, one of the Mackintosh sons, fled north across the border into Texas and eventually landed in Denver, where he got a job boning ham for Armour Meats. The meatpacking job ended when Salvador got into a scrap with his boss. He entered into a tamal venture with the Gonzales family -- locals with a name more suited to Mexican food -- but bailed out less than a year later after another dust-up. Finally, he and his family -- wife Esther and seven children -- got into the restaurant business on their own. Already two generations removed from the haggis and shortbread of his forebears, Salvador started La Hacienda, a takeout tamal enterprise that operated out of the Mackintosh home. From takeout in the kitchen to sit-down service in the front room, the business kept growing, and when the demand for Mackintosh tamales became overwhelming, the family hastily constructed a building on the front lawn of their home on Downing Street. This served as La Hacienda's base of operations until 1956, when Salvador sold it and moved operations down the street to an old church."

That church was at 3090 Downing Street -- but the structure, like the business, grew as son Ruben Mackintosh and four of his brothers decided to expand the family business, adding carry-out tamal shacks around the city, selling tortillas and tortilla chips wholesale, and still running the full-service restaurant. Finally, the family partnership dissolved, and Ruben closed everything except the flagship restaurant, renamed Tosh's Hacienda.

And then he got ambitious all over again. A loan from the Mayor's Office of Economic Development allowed the Hacienda to update and double in size, and Ruben (along with four of his kids and their spouses) went on to open a second location in the Denver Tech Center and a third in Tubac, Arizona.

But once again, the family was overextended. A couple members split off and took over the Arizona restaurant, the Tech Center restaurant shut down -- and ultimately, the original Hacienda was put on the block because of its unpaid loans to the city, all HUD Community Development Block Grants.

"For me," says Bill Lysaught, head of the city's Office of Economic Development, "the sad part is that they were the only economic activity in that neighborhood for all the very bad years and now, with all the new household density and neighborhood improvement, they aren’t there to take advantage of it."

In the end, the old church was no sanctuary for the Hacienda.-- Patricia Calhoun

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.
Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun