Chipotle Mexican Grill may have marked the twentieth birthday of its original location this past weekend -- but many restaurants in Denver are much, much older. And while they may not have inspired outposts around the world, some of them are still in the hands of the original owners....or at least the hands of their offspring. See also: - Chipotle founder Steve Ells discusses the ingredients behind two decades of success - The ten spiciest moments in Chipotle's twenty-year history - Jason Sheehan on the Blue Parrot's Wopburger.
The champ may well be the Blue Parrot Restaurant in Louisville, which opened in 1919 and has been in the Colacci family ever since. David Hudson is part of the fourth generation of Colaccis to work there; he's the eldest child of Joan (Colacci) Riggins. Hudson has worked at the Blue Parrot off and on since 1983, and today three of his kids work there, too.
At 79, the Bonnie Brae Tavern is a relative newcomer. The Dire family opened the roadhouse in 1934, right across the street -- actually, South University was a dirt lane back then -- from the headquarters of the Denver Temperance League. Today the third generation is running that popular place, and we're anticipating quite an anniversary party next year.
Patsy's, an institution in northwest Denver, opened in the '20s -- but it was out of the family's hands for decades until Kim DeLancey and Ron Cito, second cousin of founder Chubby Aiello, bought the place in 2008.
Do you know of any restaurant that beats the Blue Parrot's record? If so, post it in the comments section below. A version of this story originally appeared in Cafe Bites, our weekly newsletter covering Denver's drinking and dining scene that appears in e-mail inboxes every Wednesday. Find out how to subscribe here.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.