The cutthroat Denver restaurant scene claimed another victim this week as Solitaire, at 3927 West 32nd Avenue, went dark. Chef Mark Ferguson and Andrea Faulisi Ferguson opened the West Highland eatery in April 2015 in the former home of Highland's Garden Cafe, bringing an innovative small-plates menu to the neighborhood.
The owners posted this message on Solitaire's Facebook page on August 21:
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It is with a heavy heart that we have decided to close Solitaire permanently.
We cannot thank our staff, neighbors and friends for all your support and great memories over the years. This has been such an amazing adventure and we look forward to new possibilities, adventures and beginnings.
Andrea and Mark Ferguson,
Edward Durell & The Solitaire Staff
Mark Ferguson, whose previous experience included a career at Wolfgang Puck's restaurants, named the restaurant after the Solitaire food company, which Ferguson's great-great-grandfather, Chester Stephen Morey, owned in Denver in the early 1900s. The Fergusons completely gutted and renovated the conjoined Victorian mansions that housed Highland's Garden Cafe for twenty years before owner Pat Perry sold the place in 2013.
We named Solitaire Best Restaurant on West 32nd Avenue in 2016 and awarded Ferguson Best Chef the same year. Solitaire was known for dishes that combined disparate ingredients into cohesive delights, like a Mediterranean-inspired plate of which our restaurant critic, Gretchen Kurtz, wrote: "Nothing captures the spirit of the kitchen better than a late-summer dish of charred Spanish octopus with saffron zabaglione, radishes, chorizo and shishitos."