It was one of the biggest deals of 2012: Thirteen months ago, Toshi Kizaki announced that he and his brother had entered into a deal with BW Holdings, the company that controls the Wynkoop/Breckenridge group of breweries and restaurants, agreeing to swap Izakaya Den's current location -- a stand-alone building at 1518 South Pearl Street -- for BW Holding's building at 1477 South Pearl, where the Pearl Street Grill had closed that New Year's Eve.
While they paid a reported $1 million for the Pearl Street Grill spot, which is right next door to their flagship Sushi Den, the Wynkoop/Breck group paid $3 million for Izakaya. See also: - The Izakaya Den/Pearl Street Grill deal moves forward...slowly. - Sushi Den architects share plans for the South Pearl project - Pearl Street Grill, Ototo and India's Pearl all close on South Pearl Street
But since then, plenty of both money and effort have been poured into building a new home for Izakaya Den right by Sushi Den. Initially, the target date for the completion of that project was late 2012. But now there's a much more solid date: late May.
The new restaurant will be a spacious, two-story spot with seating for 210 and a patio. While the work is being completed -- and construction is moving quickly now, in a partnership with Roth Sheppard Architects and Jordy Construction -- Toshi Kizaki is also reworking the menu for the new Izakaya, which will retain much of the current lineup but expand the emphasis on "izakaya"-style small plates.
Sushi Den will operate without interruption through Izakaya's move, even as a few changes are made to its kitchen. (Izakaya Den will have a completely separate kitchen, although there will be some shared storage space below.) And Izakaya will continue serving in its current home until shortly before the switch -- and then the Wynkoop/Breckenridge group will start converting the 1518 South Pearl location into its next concept.
Watch Cafe Society for more updates on the action on South Pearl Street.
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A version of this story appeared in Cafe Bites, our weekly electronic newsletter dedicated to Denver's drinking and dining scene. Find out how to subscribe here.