A neighborhood eatery like the Gallop Cafe at 2401 West 32nd Avenue, with breakfast, sandwiches, coffee and cocktails, seemed built to withstand the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic. After all, the Highland neighborhood is filled with folks who need sustenance and caffeine, even if just to go. But the Gallop closed on March 17, remained shuttered after dining rooms were allowed to open on May 27, and then put off a planned reopening at the end of July, according to the cafe's Facebook page, so takeout was never an option over the past five months.
Now the Gallop Cafe, opened by Glen Baker and David Grafke in 2004, is permanently closed. How many of us even lived in Denver in 2004, or walked the neighborhood around West 32nd Avenue and Zuni Street before the moniker LoHi took hold, before high-density apartments and condos sprung up where single-family homes had existed for decades?
Even the nickname LoHi seemed a little pretentious to residents who called the area the Northside before places like Spuntino, the Wooden Spoon Cafe & Bakery, Duo, Taqueria La Familia and Tony P's moved onto the block. And when those places finally felt established, Highland Tap & Burger, Uncle and Bar Dough moved in with a wave of youthful energy spurred by Denver's economic success in the 2010s.
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But the stretch of West 32nd between Tejon Street and Federal Boulevard has long been a haven of good food. Patzcuaro's is now 42 years old, and its neighbors Panaderia Rosales and La Mexicana Taqueria — now called La Grande Mexicana — have also persevered through rounds of gentrification. Just a few blocks west, Pizza Alley has been slinging square deep-dish slices since 1976.
Fortunately, Baker says the cafe is not gone for good, as he and Grafke are selling it to new owners. While it won't be the same Gallop Cafe that customers have gotten to know over the past sixteen years, the space will soon continue on as a neighborhood stop for food and drink.
But no restaurant is safe right now, as it turns out. Health and safety restrictions have made doing business difficult, and a shrinking economy is making dining out a rare treat rather than a regular occurrence. Look around your neighborhood and choose wisely, because you'll want to support the small-business owners, the family-run joints, the little cafes where you can duck in and grab your favorite breakfast or lunch, to help them stick around.
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