Readers: We Will Miss Racines...but Thanks for All the Memories!

A last look at the Racines dining room.
A last look at the Racines dining room.
Larry Laszlo
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After closing along with the rest of Denver's restaurants on March 17 to stop the spread of COVID-19, Racines didn't offer to-go and delivery, but promised to come back when it was safe — and then host a long goodbye before shuttering altogether when a sale of the property closed in January. But this week, Lee Goodfriend and David Racine, the owners of the popular longtime eatery that was once part of a three-restaurant homegrown chain, delivered the sad news: Racines will not reopen.

Instead, the place will remain closed until the sale goes through in January. Plans are in the works to built apartments at the site; after more than four decades in the restaurant business, Goodfriend and Racine will retire. They'll leave behind lots of memories. Says Sarah: 

Oh, no....How sad. They will be missed by so many.

Says Eva: 

I'm going to miss the comfortable armchairs, the friendly staff, and that I was able to order dinner for breakfast. They also displayed paintings and photography by local artists. Thank you, Racines, for many great years.

Remembers Davina: 

I have been going to Racines for thirty-plus years. The first time I went, I was with my grandparents, and it’s been a staple since. I am so sad to see their doors close. I am so happy that my last pre-COVID breakfast was my birthday breakfast with my family on March 14. Thank you, Racines, for the countless breakfasts I have eaten with you over the past thirty years!

Comments Alton:

Going to miss Racines, watching people power breakfast and those delish Eggs Mazatlan.

Adds Joey:

I’ll miss the Tuna Melt with a side of wasabi mayo for my fries.

Explains Barb: 

I will greatly miss Racines (as I am still missing Goodfriends and Dixons). I frequented Racines often, as both of its "rooms," whether on Bannock or Sherman, offered a comfortable sophistication beyond compare in the city. I could always count on the consistency of the service and, more important, the food and its presentation, whether I was with friends or eating alone. At one time, its Monte Cristo was my go-to order, as it was perfection.

I had just remarked to friends earlier this week that I didn't think Racines would re-open, as gearing back up for only a few months of it "farewell tour" would be monumental and all the more bittersweet. I had the great good fortune to personally meet all three of these legendary restaurateurs, as they were always visible in their respective establishments and not shy in assisting the wait staff when necessary. Denver's restaurant scene will never again see the likes of David, Lee and Dixon, but we are all the richer for having experienced their hospitality.

And then there's this lovely memory from Carol:

My partner and I met a young woman at Racines on Speer in the fall of 1991. She came to interview us as potential parents for the baby she was expecting. She was interested in us “because gays and lesbians had a harder time adopting a baby” (at that time).  She indicated she liked “our energy.” With 3x5 note cards in hand, she asked us thoughtful questions about our relationship, our parenting styles, and our philosophy of life. We also asked a few questions, and after our Nutty Cheesy Salad, Santa Fe Grill sandwich and hamburger, we agreed we would continue our discussion. Depending on a meeting with her parents and their approval, she would place her baby with us.

On March 4, 1992, we were in the hospital room and participated in the birth of our son, Tim. We are still in contact with his birth mom, and so grateful to her.

I’ve had many breakfasts, lunches, and dinners at Racines over the years, some ordinary and some celebratory. Some after a night at the bars, and later with a squirmy toddler and his colors and placemat. It just felt like home. But none more memorable than that booth where we found our son.

What memories do you have of Racines? Post a comment or share them at editorial@westword.com.

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