After a rough first week of 2022 that saw only closings to report, including the loss of longtime diner standby Breakfast King, this week we spotted six openings and one comeback: A fire had shut down Carm & Gia Metropolitan in June, but the Aurora eatery reopened this week.
A new bar has also debuted in the Five Points home of Rita's Law, which closed in September. Pairadice, which has a dice-covered bar top and a menu that includes eight drinks named after Prince songs, comes from the owners of the Horseshoe Lounge, Embassy Tavern and Dew Drop Inn.
On January 12, Dana Rodriguez, one of our 22 people to watch in 2022, debuted her first solo-owned restaurant, Cantina Loca. Located in LoHi, it specializes in Mexico City-style cuisine along with tequila and mezcal, including Rodriguez's own Doña Loca brand. Also on Rodriguez's calendar for later this year: reopening Casa Bonita as its new executive chef.
The Crypt, a punk bar in Uptown with a mostly vegan menu, served its first drinks on January 13. That same day, the French-Montreal-inspired brasserie Au Feu, from restaurateur Jared Leonard, opened its doors in Wash Park.
The week wrapped up with the soft opening of Mono Mono's third location, this one in Lafayette, on January 14. The space came complete with brewing equipment, and restaurateur JW Lee plans to utilize it and get into the beer business later this year.
But there were also closings: Mike's Famous Pizza, which opened in 2003 in southwest Denver, shut its doors on January 14, "due to COVID and the cost of food product and labor," its owner said.
The same factors led to another closing coming this weekend: Brightmarten, in the Bonnie Brae neighborhood, will shutter after brunch service on Sunday, January 16. Over the past two months, the combination of rising costs, an increase in COVID cases and staffing shortages has been "like a pressure cooker" on top of an extremely tough two years of operating during the pandemic, says co-owner Jared Riggs.
Here's the full list of restaurants and bars opening and closing in metro Denver this week:
Au Feu, 81 South Pennsylvania Street
Cantina Loca, 2880 Zuni Street
The Crypt, 1618 East 17th Avenue
Kabod Coffee, Denver International Airport, Level 6 (in the terminal)
Mono Mono, 599 Crossing Drive, Lafayette
Pairadice, 2209 Welton Street
Restaurants and bars reopening this week:*
Carm & Gia Metropolitan, 9598 East Montview Boulevard, Aurora
Restaurants and bars closing this week:*
Mike's Famous Pizza, 3700 West Quincy Avenue
*Or earlier and not previously reported.
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