Cafe Society

Mel's: Master of His Domain

It looks like Mel and Jane Master will be leaving Denver, closing their Southwestern-themed Agave Grill (at 5960 South Holly Street in Greenwood Village), selling a majority interest in Mel’s of Greenwood Village (shown here, and located right next door to Agave) to its general manager and a group of partners. and giving over command of the Mel’s at 1120 East Sixth Avenue to son Charlie Master.

Charlie will be turning the spot into Mel’s Anti-Bistro -- a weird kind of full-circle trip for the kid who once opened Brix as a deliberate step away from his father’s very traditional bistro, and who was known for telling customers that if they didn’t like the casualness and back-of-the-house party vibe of Brix, they were welcome to leave and head straight down the side alley to the original Mel’s in Cherry Creek. (In another loop of the circle, the Sixth Avenue spot was the home to the original Masters restaurant in Denver, Dudley's, three decades ago.)

“Janey and I are moving back to Massachusetts,” Mel told me when we spoke Thursday. The reason? Their daughter, Amy, who isn’t well and is looking at possibly needing a heart transplant in the next couple of years. “You get to a certain age and you realize that these are the things that are important,” Mel said.

While no plans are yet set in stone, Mel explained that he and Jane would like to be back with their daughter and her family by September. But it’s not like Mel is going to be gone forever. “As much as I’d like to say no more fucking restaurant business, I’m overcooked -- I know I’d be miserable," he told me. "I was the last time.”

He figures that with Charlie here, his position as “chairman emeritus” at Mel’s of Greenwood Village and his wine-importing business still up and running, he’ll probably be back in town about once a month “to walk the dining room, shake some hands, kiss some babies, all that.”

No worries, Mel. We’ll leave the light on for you. -- Jason Sheehan

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Contact: Patricia Calhoun