Max's Wine Dive made it for five years at the corner of Sherman Street and East Seventh Avenue, but increased competition in the Governor's Park neighborhood may have marked the end for the fried chicken specialist. According to a sign on the door: "Max's Denver is officially closed for business. We have appreciated all of your support over the years."
Max's closed after dinner service on Sunday, February 16, making it the second restaurant on the block to shutter this month. Daikon, a fast-casual sandwich shop specializing in Vietnamese-style banh mi that was right across the street, closed earlier in February. But the entire neighborhood has been in transition for the past year or so, ever since Govnr's Park Tavern and Lala's Wine Bar + Pizzeria, both owned by the same restaurant company, went out of business.
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Other recent changes include the switch from noodles to fried chicken at 701 Grant Street, where chef/restaurateur Frank Bonanno changed over from Bones to Lou's Food Bar last summer, and the addition of Ivy on 7th, Carboy Winery and Logan Street Restaurant in the spaces previously occupied by Lala's and Govnr's Park.
Max's was known for its fried-chicken-and-champagne combo as well as other hearty comfort fare along the lines of deep-fried deviled eggs, towering burgers and shrimp and grits. The restaurant was run by Lasco Enterprises, which maintains several outposts of Max's Wine Dive in its home state of Texas.
The restaurant's ownership released the following comment on the closure: "We have greatly appreciated serving the supportive community in Denver for the past five years. However, with the newly enacted minimum wage increase combined with high food costs and labor shortages, we are not able to operate Max’s in Denver any longer."