Route 40 Hits a Bump in the Road on Colfax Avenue

Route 40 opened this summer in the Lowenstein Complex.
Route 40 opened this summer in the Lowenstein Complex. Mark Whistler
Colfax Avenue, the country's longest main street that was also the legendary Route 40, has seen a lot of businesses come and go during its lengthy history, and another one just hit a major roadblock: Route 40, the restaurant that replaced the Goods at 2550 East Colfax Avenue, has shut its doors...for now.

"It just didn’t make sense to stay open daily with the cold weather coming," says Charlie Woolley, the developer who turned the old Bonfils Theatre into the Lowenstein Complex, which also holds Twist & Shout and a Tattered Cover. "The restaurant will do events and pop-ups to stay in front of their customers."

Route 40 just opened at the end of June; it was a revisioning of the Goods, which Mark Whistler had run since 2016. (Before that, the U Baron Group operated the Good Son there; Encore was the first restaurant in the space.) Late last year, Whistler was looking for a way to change the focus of his restaurant; Woolley suggested that he talk to Jonny Barber, founder of the Colfax Museum, who needed a new home for that facility.

"I immediately thought it was a great idea, and by January or February, we knew it would become a reality," Whistler told Westword this past summer.
click to enlarge Jonny Barber moved some of his Colfax memorabilia into Route 40. - EVAN SEMON
Jonny Barber moved some of his Colfax memorabilia into Route 40.
Evan Semon
But then the pandemic hit, which changed the timing and course of the project. The Goods closed for a facelift, an updating of the menu and an expansion of the patio, where all of Route 40's seating would be located. Inside, there was a counter of grab-and-go items from the "Route 40 Pitstop," as well as displays of Barber's memorabilia.

Now all that's locked up during a course correction. "We are going to look harder at what we can do to enhance the Colfax Museum and perhaps do events related to the museum, too," says Woolley. “Not dead yet!”

While you wait for Route 40 to come back to life, you can get a look at Barber's collection at the History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway, where Forty Years on the ’Fax runs through December 2021.
click to enlarge EVAN SEMÓN
Evan Semón
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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