Cafe Society

New life at Nine75

It’s quickly becoming the story that never ends. After the surprise announcement on September 29 that Jim Sullivan was closing both Nine75 (975 Lincoln Street) and Ocean (201 Columbine Street) -- the last two properties remaining in the Sullivan Restaurant Group—and all the fallout that came from staff suddenly left without paychecks and pissed about how the whole thing had gone down, I just got word ten minutes ago that Nine75 will be reopening.

This Friday.

Yeah, you read that right. Down for just a little over a week, Nine75 was actually bought hours after the closing was announced by Jet Entertainment Group and former Sullivan Restaurant Group COO and manager George Eder, who left SRG for Jet about a year and a half ago.

“It was never badly broken,” Eder said of Nine75. “It just lost its way.” And quickly, he and the rest of the Jet partners figured out that if they could only get it back on the path it’d been heading down a year or so ago, they might yet be able to make a couple nickels off the place.

As for how they're getting the space turned around so fast, Eder gave me a very succinct explanation: “You know me. I’m nuts.”

It helped, though, that Nine75 was basically turn-key—most of the damage had been more metaphysical than actual, more economic than structural. “You clean it, you contact some vendors, pay them some money and they bring you food,” Eder said. “Simple as that.” He told me that he and his crew were there cleaning right now, working towards this Friday’s reopening.

The space will remain Nine75 and will run (at least for now) with both the menu and much of the staff that was there when Jim Sullivan closed the doors. “It got a little expensive, a little frou-frou,” Eder said. Ultimately, they plan to return the place to what it was like it first opened (and I first reviewed it): upscale comfort food with a modern twist.

“Comfort food means you’ve got to be comfortable with the price, too,” he added. To that end, Eder picked up chef Jose Guerrero, ex of Ocean, to take the chef’s post in the kitchen.

And most of those employees who hadn’t already found jobs? They’re being welcomed back with open arms. “I worked with a lot of these people,” Eder said, explaining that they were good people who got stuck in a bad situation.

Here’s hoping that Eder and Jet will make things better -- fast. -- Jason Sheehan

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun