As we head into summer, the dining scene is heating up, too. We reported sixteen openings in April, which ranged from a Pueblo-themed bar to a French/Vietnamese bakery to a pizza and pasta joint from a James Beard award-winning chef and restaurateur. But amid all this diversity, there was one clear trend: Many restaurants are now choosing to open in Denver's suburbs instead of the city.
From Lakewood to Littleton, more new spots opened outside of Denver last month than within city limits. But those that did open in the Mile High offer signs that downtown is coming back: Fuel & Iron, for example, has taken over the space occupied by Brass Tacks, which cited a lack of clientele in LoDo as a driver of its decision to close. But judging from the crowds on outdoor patios in the core city on warm spring days, business is definitely up.
There were closures in April, though; we recorded six. They include a gay bar that lasted only three months in LoDo and the first brewery taproom to close this year, along with both Crush Pizza + Tap and its sister restaurant, Crush Wing + Tap, which was only open for six months. "Ultimately, I would say I was a little premature in opening a second location," owner Jason McGovern told Westword. Crush Wings closed first, on April 9, and Crush Pizza's last day in business was April 30. While the wing-focused spot just never really got off the ground, the seven-year-old pizza place saw a dip in sales over the past year. McGovern thinks a combination of reasons could be behind the slowdown, including general "pizza fatigue" after so many people ate a whole lot of pizza while stuck at home in 2020 and 2021.
McGovern also said that he was simply ready to get out of the business after two years of high-stress operations. Running a restaurant is always filled with unexpected challenges, but throughout the pandemic, restaurateurs have faced tough decision after tough decision, which has exhausted plenty of people. The rest of this year could see many more closures as owners and operators who struggled through the last two years decide to opt out of the industry altogether. McGovern is planning to find a new career that offers a better work/life balance, though he admitted that he's not quite sure what that is just yet.
Here's the complete list of restaurants and bars that opened and closed in April:
Banh & Butter Bakery Cafe, 9935 East Colfax Avenue
The Barrel Room at the Gallery Sportsman's Club & Range, 1350 Colorado Mills Parkway, Lakewood
Carrera's Tacos, 7939 East Arapahoe Road, Greenwood Village
Crisp & Green, 7111 East Lowry Boulevard
Edgewater Beer Garden, 2508 Gray Street, Edgewater
Fuel & Iron, 1526 Blake Street
Gaia Masala & Burger, 609 Grant Street
Garage Sale Vintage, 390 South Teller Street, Lakewood
Heaven Creamery, 7337 West Alaska Drive, Lakewood
Ike's Love & Sandwiches, 8300 East 36th Avenue
LoDough Bakery, 1850 Wazee Street
Manilla Bay, 13800 East Mississippi Avenue, Aurora
Old Santa Fe Express Mexican Grille, 1500 West Littleton Boulevard, Littleton
Roca's Pizza & Pasta, 13795 West Jewell Avenue, Lakewood
Sherry’s Soda Shoppe, 1087 13th Street, Boulder
Toastique, 9567 South University Boulevard, Highlands Ranch
Restaurants reopening in April:
Welton Street Cafe, 2258 California Street (doing takeout only in temporary location)
Restaurants and bars closing in April 2022*:
Blue Tile Brewing, 1609 East 58th Avenue
Crush Pizza + Tap, 1200 West 38th Avenue
Crush Wing + Tap, 5001 East Colfax Avenue
Sir, 1822 Blake Street
Supermoon, 909 Walnut Street, Boulder
Vert Kitchen, 704 South Pearl Street
*Or earlier and not previously reported.
Know of something we missed? Email us, [email protected].