One of LoHi’s neighborhood hangouts is getting a facelift aimed at keeping its loyal customers from looking for the next-best thing.
LoHi Steakbar, located on the northeast corner of West 32nd Avenue and Tejon Street, will close its doors at 8 p.m. Sunday to undergo top-to-bottom renovations, including new floors, ceilings, upholstery, tabletops and fixtures. The staff will get new uniforms, too. Regulars with favorite dishes shouldn’t worry, though. The menu — including prices — will remain the same, with favorites like hand-cut steaks, fresh mussels and salmon, oysters on the half-shell and house-ground burgers.
“It’s been open for eight years now,” says Joe Pettenger, managing partner of the restaurant. “There’s wear and tear. We really are looking to do a fresh look.”
Pettenger says the neighborhood has changed dramatically since he and partner Taylor Drew took it over in October 2014. There are significantly more restaurants and bars within steps of LoHi Steakbar, giving locals a variety of places to choose from.
“We have such a loyal client base that we want to make sure they’re still comfortable here,” Pettenger says. “We don’t want them to feel like they have to go find something new and shiny in the neighborhood.”
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LoHi Local, the coffee shop that recently opened in part of the restaurant space, will continue to operate from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily during the renovations. The full restaurant is expected to reopen July 12.
Designed by architect Tricia Mueller-Callandra of Larimer Associates, the space will be a bit darker and more comfortable. While the layout of the bar will remain the same, with the booths and community table intact, the dining room will have minor changes, including a half-wall between the servers’ station and the dining room so guests don’t feel like they're in the work station. The TVs also will be removed from the dining room.
In 2014, Pettenger and Drew took over the restaurant from chef Sean Kelly, who opened the neighborhood steak-and-burger joint in partnership with Larimer Associates in 2009. Lifelong friends, Pettenger and Drew previously worked with Bonanno Concepts in restaurants like Osteria Marco, Russell’s Smokehouse and Mizuna. When they took over, they reworked the menu a few times, which drew criticism from some longtime customers.
Before it was LoHi Steakbar, the building looked completely different. Larimer Associates bought the building in 2009 and completely gutted it. The real estate company even put a new “skin” on the building, which had housed North Star Brewery, among the first restaurants to locate in LoHi when the neighborhood was just starting to become a hot spot for redevelopment.