The side-entrance restaurant space at the Industry building on Brighton Boulevard is a challenging location to do business, especially as a dinner-only restaurant. Once the daytime business crowd clears out, the area feels a little abandoned, with dark, echoing parking garages and road dust swirling around the corners of the building. But that's where Izakaya Ronin decided to set up shop at the end of 2017, and the gamble worked — for a while.
Izakaya Ronin, the sultry spinoff of Sushi Ronin in LoHi, attracted attention with its speakeasy vibe (especially in the basement bar that was once a boiler room) and inventive Japanese cuisine, earning a spot on our list of best new bars to open in 2017. But the great sushi, admirable bar program and unique setting weren't enough, and now the place is closed.
Izakaya Ronin left this message on its door and Facebook page last night:
"we would like to thank all of our customers and friends for supporting us throughout the years. We are truly humbled to have been chosen as one of the Best Japanese Restaurants in Denver and appreciate all of you, our guests. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
"With much regret we have decided to close Izakaya Ronin with an anticipated move to a much more visible location in Denver...stay tuned for an upcoming announcement.
"Meanwhile, please visit our sister restaurant Sushi Ronin in LoHi (voted best sushi of Denver 2016-2019) located at 2930 Umatilla Street, Denver, Tel: 303-955-8741.
Restaurateur Alex Gurevich and chef Corey Baker opened Sushi Ronin and Izakaya Ronin together, but Baker was out at both as of mid-January (according to 5280 ). Before Izakaya Ronin opened, the space was home to Tengu Ramen from 2014 to 2016.
Gurevich has been responsible for several other restaurants in the Denver area, including Limón and Bread N Butter at 1618 East 17th Avenue, a space that's currently vacant after the Knotty Neighbor closed there earlier this year.
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.