Shead's, back from the dead

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Today I was driving along East Iliff Avenue in Aurora when I spotted a name from the distant past: Shead's.

I'd reviewed Shead's Fish and BBQ Heaven back in August 2002, just two months after I took this gig, and I remember the place as a rattletrap, strip-mall barbecue joint with good small ends and pork ribs, some catfish and a history that was long and storied. Leon Shead, who owned the restaurant, had learned the pit man's magic from his dad, who worked the smokers in Indianapolis.

He had a brother in the business, too: Mack Shead, one half of the Mack-and-Daisy duo who are the namesakes of M&D's Barbecue, one of Denver's most storied shacks.

I liked Shead's, but it didn't last too long in its East Hampden Avenue location. Still, if there's one thing I've learned since writing that review more than six years ago, it's that in Denver's restaurant scene, no name ever goes away for good.  Everything seems to come around again in one form or another, in some not-always-equal reincarnation.

And just today, I saw the Shead's name hanging above a space at 12203 East Iliff Avenue. There wasn't much to it, just a big white banner with red lettering that said  "Shead's Fish and Barbecue."

That space on Iliff is also home to Sabo Tropical Grill, a weird kind of half-catering, half-sit-down Philipino/Asian operation that's gone through some major changes over the past year or so. From the looks of it, Shead's is serving from inside the Tropical Grill space.

I'll spill more details as I get them.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


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