Mel's reunion just like old times

Mel and Janie Master, who owned the original Mel's Bar and Grill in Cherry Creek, until it shuttered in 2007, were back in town yesterday to host a Mel's reunion at the Egg Shell of Cherry Creek -- the space at 235 Fillmore Street where Mel's resided for more than a decade before Mel and Janie left for the East Coast to be closer to family.

Hundreds of Mel's old barflies and regulars, along with wine geeks and industry peeps, showed up last night -- far more than Mel and Janie expected -- and suffice it to say, it was one helluva party. Several chefs who once cooked at Mel's -- Goose Sorensen (Solera); Tyler Wiard (Elway's Cherry Creek); Brandon Foster (Vesta Dipping Grill); and Edgar Martinez, the kitchen manager of the Egg Shell and a Mel's lifer -- congregated in the minuscule kitchen and re-created several of the classic dishes, including the brilliant roasted chicken, served with frites, that made Mel's one of the city's most popular hangouts.

It was just like being at a high school reunion -- but with much better food, a lot more wine and a lot less drama. Plus, all of the proceeds from last night's dinner were donated to Judi's House, a local nonprofit that provides hope and healing to children who have lost a loved one. "It was a fantastic night, and we plan to do this every year until we're either too old or too senile -- whichever comes first," says Mel.

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