Troy Guard isn't afraid to close restaurants. "I've never been averse to change...I’m not afraid to reinvent concepts and re-energize spaces," the chef/restaurateur told us three years ago when he closed the Lowry outpost of Bubu before reopening it as Lucky Cat.
But shuttering Mister Tuna, which will happen after dinner service on Saturday, November 2, surely must sting a little. After all, Guard named the restaurant after his father's nickname, added an enormous mural of his mom overlooking the dining room, and filled the menu with the kind of food he grew up eating in Hawaii.
TAG Restaurant Group announced the upcoming closing in a press release, along with news that the company would hang on to the space, converting it into a special events hall called Commissary. "Though our opening was strong and optimistic, the construction and consistency struggles that followed have stalled our initial progress," Guard noted in the release. "We have enjoyed the neighborhood and have decided to move forward with a new conceptualization of the space."
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Mister Tuna debuted in July 2016 and earned a spot on our list of Denver's ten best new restaurants that year, and eventually landed in Eat Here, a list of our 100 favorite restaurants we can't live without. But now we'll have to learn to live without the wood-grilled fish, lamb and pork, the elegant sashimi and crudos, and the far-ranging influences that made the menu a global adventure of discovery.
Brighton Boulevard underwent heavy construction for nearly two of the three years Mister Tuna has operated there, and the Industry building it calls home has already seen a couple of other restaurants, Tengu Ramen and Izakaya Ronin, come and go in the same time period. But with Commissary, Guard will be able to continue some of the special events, guest chef dinners, cooking classes, demos and other programs from his team of chefs Jorel Pierce and Korey Sims and pastry chef Joy Williams. "Commissary will offer the amenities of a hotel ballroom, but in a sexier space with chef-driven food and TAG hospitality," Guard added in his statement.
Mister Tuna will continue taking reservations through November 2 on its website or by calling 303-831-8862. Commissary is already accepting bookings for private events; contact Jeorgette Jackson (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 303-293-8504 or Wendy Harper (email@example.com) at 303-996-9985.
Despite the closing of Mister Tuna, Guard shows no signs of slowing down the growth of his restaurant empire. He's launching a new Guard and Grace in Houston in mid-November, and he's also opening a food hall and brewery in the Denver Tech Center next year.