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Mexico City Lounge finally calls itself a restaurant

For more than forty years, the Mexican City Lounge has held down its particular patch of Larimer Street, serving up hot, hot green chile and great greasy steak tacos to generations of faithful fans. Back in the early '70s, when the Garcia family opened this neighborhood joint, it was in the heart of Denver's skid row. Today, the area is almost as hot as Mexico City's green chile.

After all, Mexico City now shares the 2100 block of Larimer Street with not just Marco's Coal-Fired Pizza, but Trillium, Ignite! and Biker Jim's. And even the former dive bars on the block -- Star Bar and El Charrito -- have gotten new life as hipster hangouts.

Now Mexico City has made a few changes to reflect its increasingly upscale surroundings. Soon after Robert Muniz took over the place from relatives, he did a major housecleaning that revealed that the floor we'd always thought was brown linoleum was actually green. Then, just in time for baseball season four years ago, he did a major facelift that replaced that linoleum with tile and gave the walls a golden, chi-chi cantina look.

Now he's given the spot a new logo that graces the sign out front -- and puts the word "Restaurant" squarely between "Mexico City" and "Lounge."

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But for us, this will always be one of the great places to sit and lounge in Denver over a big burrito and a bucket of beers. The kind of place that attracts blue- and white-collar types alike, and where Pete Coors once left his lunch to go fix a tapin the basement.

Here's to Mexico City...no matter what you call it.

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