The property got its start as the first home of Izakaya Den, and then, in a complicated business deal in 2012 with the Kizaki brothers who own Sushi Den, Izakaya and the reopened Ototo, the Breckenridge-Wynkoop group traded the former Pearl Street Grill at 1477 South Pearl, where the brothers built a stunning new home for the Izakaya Den that opened in June 2013, and then the Breckenridge-Wynkoop took over the original Izakaya, which was transformed into Session Kitchen.
But that concept, full of street art and musical riffs, never took off, and after less than two years, the Breckenridge-Wynkoop group closed it in July and put the building on the block. Now, after a couple of false starts that had CEO Lee Driscoll thinking maybe they would hang on to the space and create a "nice, upscale brewpub," the group has a buyer: Pending any glitches, the building is going to Rod Tafoya. That's a familiar name to Denverites because all of his concessions at Denver International Airport, including Mission Yogurt, which has spilled over into locations outside the state.
And Tafoya has another concept that's expanded outside DIA: Que Bueno.
The Mexican mainstay at the airport has won several Best of Denver awards and completed a major expansion four years ago. But its single restaurant outside DIA has hit major turbulence: Westminster is going to tear down the Westminster Promenade, where Que Bueno has been for twelve years. "So we intend to take a variation, a better version of that idea, into Denver," Tafoya says. "We're very excited. We want to make sure that it works. We intend to be a great neighbor to the community."
He says they're not yet certain of the name, or whether the street art commissioned for Session Kitchen will remain on the side of the building that they'll redecorate but keep "a beautiful place." But they do know that the restaurant will be "similar, expanded and better" than the current Que Bueno, Tafoya says.
When the possible sale of the building was first announced, Driscoll said that he hoped the new owner would "come in and knock it out of the park."
A smart Mexican restaurant in this neighborhood could do just that.