Lechuga's, one of the last old-school red-sauce joints lingering in the once Italian-heavy Lower Highland neighborhood (LoHi to hipsters, but simply the northside to longtime residents) has been sold and is throwing a retirement celebration for owners Chuck Lechuga and Rachael Vigil tomorrow. The Lechuga's building -- with its parking lots -- was advertised for sale at $3 million a year and a half ago, but at least one sale fell through. Now, however, it's apparently a done deal. See also: Photos of the Last Supper at Pagliacci's The building has housed restaurants since the 1960s, but Lechuga and Vigil bought the place in 1989. They've been serving their famous canoli and Little Devils -- baked dough surrounding either meatballs or sausage -- ever since, but rumors of a potential sale have been circulating for years, and they started moving faster as LoHi took off. According to a Lechuga's employee, the restaurant won't shut down when the new owners take over -- but we don't know yet on whether those canoli, unique in Denver, will remain on the menu.
The surrounding area has been losing historic restaurants for the past couple of years: Pagliacci's, Carbone's and Longo's Subway Tavern are all gone, while Gaetano's was purchased and renovated -- losing its divey, underworld charm -- by the Breckenridge-Wynkoop group, which then sold it to Ron Robinson in 2013. While an onslaught of hip new restaurants has breathed new life into Lower HIghland, its restaurant history is slowly disappearing.
Anthony Alcarez announced the retirement party on the Beautiful and Historic North Denver Facebook page:
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The day has come, Rachel & Chuck are both retiring and have sold Lechuga's. Join us Thursday evening, August 28, as so many of us will be there to say goodbye and share countless memories. LATIN SOL has offered our gift of music for this priceless evening and will perform from 7-9PM. Lechuga's opened their doors for countless musicians (bands) over the years and many memories were made during that time. Most of the crowd has been the same for all those years. Many old-faces and a few new ones. With so many loyal and steady customers who frequent Lechuga's, we wouldn't be surprised if the place was jam packed by 3:00pm.
Please share this information with all your friends who have had great memories at one of Denver's staple locations in the Highlands "Northside" neighborhood. LECHUGA'S. Thank you Rachel & Chuck for all you have done for so many people over the years. God Bless you both.