Openings and Closings

Every Restaurant Opening and Closing This Week, January 7-13

El Rancho will reopen in 2023 under the Bonanno Concepts restaurant group.
El Rancho will reopen in 2023 under the Bonanno Concepts restaurant group. Courtesy Hilco Real Estate
Coming off a chaotic start of the new year for the Denver dining scene, there were just a handful of openings and closings to report this week, but one in particular is getting a lot of buzz.

Historic El Rancho, which has its own exit off the highway in Evergreen, has reopened after a tumultuous year that included big financial and staffing issues for former owner Paul Vincent. The place hit the market last August; new owners put restaurateur Frank Bonanno and his Bonanno Concepts in charge of operations. The opening menu includes mountain-style comfort food like elk chili, a sloppy Joe made with wild boar and braised bison short ribs.

In Cap Hill, on the same block where Bonanno's Mizuna, Luca and Vesper Lounge are located, Aloy Thai Eatery finally opened following months of permitting delays. The fast-casual offshoot of Aloy Modern Thai is a concept that the team hopes to grow to multiple locations.

There's a new Asian food hall in Centennial. Coark Collective debuted inside a former Golden Corral with eight stalls serving Korean and Korean-inspired eats, though a wider variety of cuisines could be added in the future.

Penelope Coffee Bar is now open inside Free Market at Dairy Block. “We have Australian and Japanese leadership within our company, so we are always trying to find melody between the two and new ways to  celebrate our roots,” says general manager Matt Komins. Expect high-quality Australian coffee, Japanese tea, espresso-based drinks, single-origin pour-overs, ceremonial-grade matcha, hot chocolate and more.

The second Colorado outpost of South Florida-based chain I Heart Mac and Cheese also debuted this week in Denver. The first opened in Highlands Ranch in 2020.
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American Bonded will reopen next month under new ownership.
Danielle Lirette
In RiNo, American Bonded is temporarily closed after changing hands. It was purchased by Pouring With Heart, the hospitality group that also owns and operates Seven Grand at Dairy Block. “American Bonded will remain true to its mission of pouring high-quality, affordable cocktails in an inviting, no-frills atmosphere,” head of development Peter Stanislaus said in a press release. Staff training is the focus during this break, and the bar is expected to reopen next month.

Popular ice cream concept Right Cream is on hold temporarily, too. It's making a move from Dairy Block to the Yum Yum Ice Cream space next to Denver Beer Company's Downing Street location, where it plans to open in late January. It's also continuing to work on opening its own brick-and-mortar outpost on Tennyson Street later this year.

Two spots are gone for good, including FNG, restaurateur Troy Guard's West Highland eatery that opened in 2017 and underwent a rebrand in 2021. "We love the concept but had a tough time finding staff at that location," Guard says. "We had an opportunity to sell the lease, so we took it. Plus, it's not one of the [TAG Restaurant Group] brands we're looking to grow and expand this coming year, so we decided to focus our energies on those. But you never know, you may see FNG again!"

Cheffin's Cheesesteaks owner Edwin Selser also confirmed that his brick-and-mortar location in Aurora has shuttered, as well.

In other openings-and-closings news:
Here's the complete list of restaurants and bars opening and closing this week:
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Pad Thai is on the menu at Aloy's new fast-casual offshoot.
Molly Martin
Restaurants and bars opening this week:*

Aloy Thai Eatery
, 211 East Seventh Avenue
Coark Collective Food Hall, 15775 East Arapahoe Road, Centennial
El Rancho, 29260 US 40, Evergreen
I Heart Mac & Cheese, 8801 East Montview Boulevard
Penelope Coffee Bar, 1801 Blake Street

Restaurants and bars closing temporarily this week:*

American Bonded, 2706 Larimer Street

Restaurants and bars closing this week:*

Cheffin's Cheesesteaks, 15473 East Hampden Avenue, Aurora
FNG, 3940 West 32nd Avenue
Right Cream, 1825 Blake Street (moving to South Downing)

*Or earlier and not previously reported.

Know of something we missed? Email [email protected].
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Molly Martin is the Westword Food & Drink editor. She’s been writing about the dining scene in Denver since 2013, and was eating her way around the city long before that. She enjoys long walks to the nearest burrito joint and nights spent sipping cocktails on Colfax.
Contact: Molly Martin

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