Openings and Closings

Restaurant Roll Call: Every Opening and Closing in September 2020

Restaurant Roll Call: Every Opening and Closing in September 2020
Courtesy of Graves Good Burger
Aside from a freak snowstorm on September 8, September turned out to be a great month for Denver restaurants, as the weather mostly cooperated to keep patios full and diners out at their favorite spots. And many newcomers decided to make the leap into the business, whether lured by vacant real estate or still committed after months of planning and construction during a pandemic.

Regardless of the reasons, the number of openings last month looked similar to what we might have seen during the booming economy of 2019 rather than what we were expecting in the midst of a difficult year of stay-at-home orders and COVID-related restaurant restrictions.

One notable loss was Acorn, which drew nearly instant acclaim when it was opened in 2013 at the Source by restaurateur Bryan Dayton and chef Steve Redzikowski. The closure of what had been a very successful eatery is evidence that high-end restaurants rely on operating at full capacity to cover the high costs of food, labor and real estate that come with equally high customer expectations. The Michelin Guide, one of the most thorough trackers of the world's best restaurants, shines a light on the difficulties of running a luxury restaurant during the pandemic: As of September 20, only 29 of the 209 Michelin-starred restaurants in the U.S. (none of which are in Colorado) had reopened since closing at the beginning of the pandemic last spring.

Openings in September included three Asian-Cajun seafood restaurants — Clawful, the Crab House and Crawling Crab II — as well as a number of ghost kitchens and takeout-only concepts at existing eateries. Burger joints, coffeehouses and hard-to-find global cuisines, from Burmese to South Indian, also cropped up.

Here's our complete list of restaurant and bar openings and closings in September 2020:

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Mark Antonation is the former Westword Food & Drink Editor. In 2018, he was named Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he's now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
Contact: Mark Antonation