A block away in LoDo, Jax is getting ready to open in the old home of the Terminal. Already the peanut-butter-and-neon-blue paint scheme--which earned the old owner a disdainful award from the Lower Downtown District--has disappeared, replaced by a tasteful baked-bean-spinach-and-mustard combo.
The historically accurate--and historically protected--Gold Coin bar up in Central City hasn't proved to be a very good gamble for the adjoining Lady Luck casino. Since the Gold Coin has historic designation, the casino can't put slot machines in the space--but it hasn't exactly hit the jackpot by running it as a bar, either. And now it may toss the Coin, one of the last real bars left in Central City, by closing its doors for at least the winter.
Meanwhile, the Augusta at the Westin Hotel Tabor Center has a winner with the Central City Opera, which performs every Friday from 7 to 9 p.m. until November 29 and every Sunday for brunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. until November 24. The singers present music from Thirties and Forties composers such as George Gershwin and Cole Porter, along with Broadway show tunes. Call ahead, especially for brunch. And a great marketing ploy has paid off for Canyon Cafe, which earlier this month took over the Cherry Creek spot at 2500 East First Avenue once occupied by Grady's. The gratis dessert given diners makes them feel like they've hit paydirt--it's a wonderful white-chocolate-and-nut tamale.
Open-and-shut cases: I could devote one line each week to reporting on the new restaurant going into that revolving-door space at 2637 West 26th Avenue, the original home of La Loma. This time it's the Indonesian Bali Island. Before that it was the International Cafe, B.J. Dunwoody's, a Chubby's, a tamale house, a couple of Chinese joints and who knows what I'm forgetting...Maxfield and Friends, at 2401 15th Street, is now Dakota's, offering live blues and a revamped menu that cannot be worse than the previous incarnation...Judy Judy Judy on Broadway is open, open, open at 102 South Broadway, with live music (as in piano bar)...Fans of the Palmetto Grille at 8090 East Quincy Avenue can rejoice in the second location, now open at 151 Mineral Avenue. Palmetto II boasts the same menu and concept as the original, with one twist: the accompanying Global Warming, a cafe and bakery featuring Michael Bortz's popular breads and desserts...Michael's of Cherry Creek just keeps getting better and better, and now you can check it out at lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. I nabbed a friend's leftovers of Michael's shushobashoba ($9), a bowl of braised vegetables and udon noodles in an intense, seafood-heavy broth; it was so good, I would have paid another nine bucks just for more leftovers.
Speaking of seafood, Landry's, just south of the Arapahoe exit off I-25, has outdone itself with the pun on this week's marquee: "Crabs are contagious." How appetizing. What's next--"Clam-mydia is spreading"?