Longo's Subway Tavern occupied the same corner of 38th Avenue and Lipan Street for 52 years before closing two years ago amidst laments that the neighborhood was losing much of its classic charm, especially the old-school Italian joints. Larimer Associates purchased the building shortly afterward and partnered with restaurateur Troy Guard to renovate the building and turn it into the new Sunnyside Burger Bar, which will start slinging burgers and pouring craft beers next Tuesday, September 16. See also: Subway Tavern Transformation Into Burger Bar Reveals "the Original Connolle" Larimer Associates COO Joe Vostrejs says that not much remains of the original bar and pizza joint, which was "in extremely poor condition."
"The brick building in front was stout," he adds, but the back half was a connected residential house that couldn't be saved. Inside, almost everything is new, except for a framed photo recovered from the bar with a scene from the original tavern from the early part of the twentieth century.
Burgers, of course, are the focal point of the menu, which despite being designed by Guard, has no items in common with his TAG Burger Bar across town. (Larimer Associates originally opened that as Madison Street, then brought in Guard -- who already had two restaurants on Larimer Street -- for the burger transformation.) In addition to the new menu, this burger joint also has a new name reflective of the neighborhood, and a more casual atmosphere with counter service. Vostrejs says the bar will focus on draft beer -- with a list heavy on locally made made brews -- and will give suggested beer and burger pairings to help customers navigate Colorado's varied beer options.
Guard's menu will steer diners toward healthy burger options (think avocado, quinoa, and kale or roasted beets and arugula) and "Pacific salmon and turkey -- high-quality proteins," says Vostrejs.
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Larimer Associates has been instrumental in reclaiming Highland and Sunnyside buildings on their last legs and giving them new life, with LoHi Steakbar, Billy's Inn and Ernie's Pizzeria on its growing roster. Vostrejs is hesitant to use the word "gentrification," and instead says that Sunnyside has maintained its historic appeal because there are so many great little brick bungalows that can stand the test of time in that neighborhood. Sunnyside Burger Bar is looking to attract young families and neighbors with a casual dining option not common in the area. Pointing out great Mexican and Italian establishments nearby, Vostrejs says Sunnyside will add a "fresh, healthy, casual concept" to what's already available.