Doug Anderson devoted his professional life to baking, first learning the bagel business and then opening Hi*Rise at 2162 Larimer Street nearly ten years ago in what was then an up-and-coming neighborhood. The bar scene was already hopping, thanks to the Coors Field crowds, but new restaurants were few and far between. Snooze had just opened a block away a couple of years earlier (in an initial attempt at late-night service), and Biker Jim had yet to plant his hot dog flag on the block (that would happen a year later).
But as Denver's restaurant scene has evolved, keeping costs down and making a profit have become tougher and tougher, especially as rents have risen faster than Anderson's bread dough. And so, as of 3 p.m. this afternoon (Friday, November 30), the Ballpark neighborhood will find itself short of one breakfast and lunch bakery. Anderson posted this message on Instagram and Facebook this morning:
Don't wanna go, but its time to go.
Hi*Rise is closing, and today is our last day. The time is right. Don't wanna go but it's time to go. We will miss our wonderful customers, neighbors and friends. You are what we've looked forward to every day. Come in for a sandwich if you have a minute. Coffee and cookies if that's your thang. Open til 3.
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Last April, we included Hi*Rise on our list of the ten best breakfast sandwiches in Denver for its bacon, egg and cheese biscuit. Today, when we stopped by before noon, the biscuits were already sold out as fans poured in to the place for one last meal. The employees were still hustling and Anderson was saying goodbye to regular customers. The bakery owner explained that he had a lot to say about the restaurant business, but that it could wait — the last farewells and sandwiches were more important.
Later, he sent us an email note to let everyone know more of the situation:
Closing for me is a business and personal decision. My lease is up and I had an opportunity to renew but I declined. There’s no landlord issue here – my rent would have gone up but not outrageously. I am looking forward to spending more time with my family, which sounds like a resigning politician. There are a million things I would do differently given the chance, but my only regret is that I couldn’t do more. Margins are so thin and competition for staff is fierce. Staffing/turnover magnify the hard parts of an already difficult business. I don’t know a chef or manager who isn’t hiring almost constantly. I will miss my customers and my crew, and my kitchen. I hope to stay in the industry – I have a lot of respect for so many people that I’ve met. They’re doing lots of great things not only in the kitchen but trying to make the world a better place.
We hope it won't be too long before we're enjoying Anderson's bagels, biscuits and breads again.