A year ago, I celebrated my friend’s thirtieth birthday with tequila shots, enchiladas and a few Ghostbusters from a nearby cosplay convention in an overstuffed booth at Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant in the Denver Tech Center. Waiters carried trays past various Guardians of the Galaxy, stopping to pose for photos and give toasts in Spanish along the way. This past weekend, I stopped by Garcia’s for a different kind of celebration, which was to grab a beer and a green corn tamale and wish Garcia’s well in its sendoff. After 27 years in their Denver Tech Center location, Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant closed its doors on Saturday, May 14.
Tucked into the heart of the Tech Center, Garcia’s has been the go-to for anyone living south of Hampden Avenue and in search of quality Mexican food and a killer happy-hour deal. Since it’s less than a five-minute walk from the Belleview light-rail station, patrons were able to partake in the two-for-one drinks (including margaritas) from 3 to 7 p.m., then walk or stumble back to public transit.
Back in March, owner Jovita Amador announced on the restaurant’s Facebook page that Garcia’s would be closing its doors. After thanking her patrons and landlord for nearly three decades of loyalty, she added that the current building would be torn down and replaced with office space.
Since the announcement, customers have shared their favorite memories and dishes on the Garcia’s Facebook page, and the staff encouraged everyone to stop by the restaurant before they closed the doors to sign their memory book. (I personally forgot that the memory book lived on the front desk, but I would have thanked Garcia’s for teaching me that I can drink numerous beers within a short window of time, and I would have additionally shown my appreciation for the breakfast burritos that I purchased mere hours later on several occasions.)
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For everyone who is still coping with the loss of Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant, there are a few options, at least for filling the void in your heart and stomach. Option one is traveling to one of the other Garcia’s locations throughout the country (mostly in Arizona) for a taste of something that resembles Amador’s cooking. Option two, though, is completely giving into nostalgia and heading back to the Denver Tech Center on Tuesday, May 24, for the Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant memorabilia and equipment auction.
Hanging high above the tables of Garcia’s were porcelain parrots and mariachi puppets, and the booths in the bar were decorated to look like the inside of a tiki hut. At the auction, Garcia’s will offer its patrons the opportunity to take a little piece of the restaurant home with them, be it in the form of an oven or painted pottery. The auction starts at 5 p.m. in the restaurant, and the equipment-only live online auction ends at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25. More information about the memorabilia and equipment auction can be found on the Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant - DTC Facebook page.
The Denver Tech Center won’t be the same without Garcia’s, and for years to come, people will be tracking Amador and her kitchen staff down, trying to get the recipe for their pollo fundido and tips on where to get the next best thing in the area.