For almost thirty years, Rodney's has been a mainstay in Cherry Creek, a home away from home for many regulars who liked the food, but really liked the company.
When Rodney Utz opened his basement spot 29 years ago, he was trying to recreate the ambience of what he called the old boys' bars of Chicago and New York, and it definitely attracted the old boys of this city, "Denver Country Club members, mostly men who are over forty and divorced, who come down so that they can get out of the house and get cocktails and burgers at better prices than they'll find at nearby restaurants," Laura Shunk wrote when she reviewed Rodney's two years ago. "The restaurant's first regulars, men from the World War II generation, used to listen to Frank Sinatra and smoke in this cavernous spot, but all that's left from those days are burn marks on the bar. Utz doesn't mind the ban that forced him to disallow cigarettes and cigars; he says business went up 21 percent once Rodney's went non-smoking."
But business didn't keep pace with the rising rent, and at the end of service tomorrow, Rodney's will close for good.
Here's the farewell message on the Rodney's website:
It is with sadness that we announce that we will be closing our doors for the final time on Saturday, September 22, 2012. We are so grateful for the friends that we have made during our 29 year run. Thank you so much for making Rodney's so wonderful!
Utz closed a second Rodney's in Tamarac Square in early 2011. By that point, he'd watched more than seventy restaurants (by his count) come and go in Cherry Creek. And after this weekend, you can add the original Rodney's to that list.
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But Utz isn't out of the business together. He'd opened a third Rodney's, in Castle Pines, which he sold a few years ago. He's taken the place back over, though; it's now known as Rodney's Grill at the Pines.