April was a rough month for restaurants and diners alike, as the COVID-19 lockdown continued and consumers contended with figuring out the best way to support their favorite restaurants from a distance. EatDenver was there with a double-down gift card push to help raise money for the organizations and the restaurants it represents, and Project Angel Heart also gave eateries a boost with its Dining IN for Life night, to support its mission while also promoting the businesses that have been so generous over the years.
And miraculously, openings continued, even if at a much slower pace than in past months. Most of the startups were takeout and delivery specialists running out of existing restaurants, but one brick-and-mortar began service in the LoHi neighborhood. Happy Camper, a Chicago pizza joint that first announced it would be opening in Denver back in August 2018, began takeout and delivery service in April. "While we have big plans to open in a big way once it’s safe again, we wanted to get damn good pizza to the people of Denver ASAP!" Happy Camper shared on its website. The pizzeria, which also offers a wide variety of bar snacks, salads and soups, took over the former home of Stone's on West 32nd Avenue, right across the street from Avanti Food & Beverage.
Many restaurants remain temporarily closed during the shutdown, rather than attempting to adapt to to-go service. We won't know how many of them will relaunch or close for good until after the lockdown is lifted. But we do know that two longtime downtown establishments shut down permanently last month, for similar reasons. The owners of the 20th Street Cafe and The Market were both nearing retirement, but the coronavirus crisis hastened their decisions. And in the Berkeley neighborhood, Scratch Burrito and Happy Tap called it quits after seven years serving internationally inspired wraps. Clay Markwell opened Scratch Burrito in 2013 at the beginning of a restaurant boom that was beginning to show signs of slowing over the past few months even before coming to a screeching halt in March.
Here's our complete list of restaurant openings and closings in April (excluding temporary closings):
Restaurants Opening in April*
Fancy Hot Dogs, 2556 15th Street
Happy Camper, 3211 Pecos Street
Jabroni & Sons (out of Bar Dough), 2227 West 32nd Avenue
Kitsune (out of American Bonded), 2706 Larimer Street
Moxie Bread Co., 4593 Broadway, Boulder
Pandemic Donuts, Denver
Restaurants Closing in April*
*Or earlier, and not previously reported.
Do you know of any openings or closings that aren't on our list? Let us know in the comments, or send an email to email@example.com.
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