Hart's Corner to reopen today

You can trace the history of Hart's Corner Bar & Restaurant through the black-and-white photos hanging on one wall of the building at 5201 West Mississippi Avenue. Hailed as the oldest business in Lakewood, it got its start as a root-beer stand during Prohibition, then became a small barbecue joint/gas station in the '30s, expanded in the '50s into a bigger restaurant, turned into a biker bar and, most recently, was a nightclub with DJs.

A not very successful nightclub.

That's why the Moutsos family, who bought the place from the Hart family back in 1978 (the Harts had owned it since 1924), have now taken it back from the couple who had been leasing it.

"We spent the last three months tenderly bringing this back to the way it was," says Nick Moutsos, who managed Hart's Corner from 1978 until 1980, when his brother, Phil, took over for a while, and will now be running it with his other brother, Paul, and their parents, M.E. and Georgette. "We're just bringing it back to what it was: a family gathering place, where families would come in with their kids and feel comfortable. And that's what it's going to be."

They've put in new carpeting, added high-top tables by the front windows, and even installed the TouchTunes Virtuo, a state-of-the-art jukebox that's the first of its kind in Colorado. Mike Martinez, who was at Breakfast King for 22 years, has been hired as head cook to oversee a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu that includes omelets, Greek and Mexican food, burgers, salads, sandwiches and steaks.

Hart's is having grand reopening celebration today at 11 a.m. complete with ribbon-cutting. From here on, the restaurant will be open at 7 a.m. every day, and stay open until 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, midnight Friday and Saturday.

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