Izakaya Den will finally leave its original home at 1518 South Pearl Street at the end of service on Sunday, May 26, then reopen the following week in its brand-spanking new space at 1477 South Pearl, right next to its sibling, Sushi Den.
In January 2011, the owners of Izakaya Den announced that they had entered into a very involved deal with the Wynkoop/Breckenridge group of breweries and restaurants, agreeing to swap Izakaya's stand-alone building at 1518 South Pearl for the now-closed Pearl Street Grill spot at 1477 South Pearl. But "swap" may not be the right word: Izakaya owners Yasu and Toshi Kizaki reportedly paid $1 million for the Pearl Street Grill space while selling the Izakaya Den building for $3 million.
Which means they had plenty of cash to pour into the new restaurant. Designed by Toshi Kizaki and Roth Sheppard Architects, the new Izakaya Den is a multi-level structure, with a bamboo garden, glass-enclosed elevator and grand staircase leading to the second floor; the first-floor space includes a sushi bar, communal table, dining room and private dining areas. Some of the contents of the original Izakaya Den, including red lacquer wall boxes, lanterns made of antique kimono fabric, bamboo partitions and custom-made chairs, are being moved to the new space. Including terrace seating, the new restaurant will seat 250. The first floor should be open by the first week of June; the rest is slated to open mid-month.
The new Izakaya Den maintains the spirit of the original, the brothers say; the new chef de cuisine, Scott Hybbeneth, worked closely with master chef Toshi Kizaki to create a signature global menu in the "izakaya" style.
Once Izakaya Den has moved, the Breckenridge-Wynkoop group will take position of the building at 1518 South Pearl, and start remodeling it for a concept that is still under wraps. But at least it will have more energy to put into the effort: It's shuttering Ghost Plate & Tap today.
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A version of this story originally appeared in Cafe Bites, our electronic newsletter on the Denver drinking and dining scene that appears in e-mail inboxes every Wednesday; subscribe to Cafe Bites here.