Tavern Platt Park should sprout next spring

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All systems are go for Tavern Platt Park, which will transform the former home of India's Pearl (and Lola, Micole and Greens before that) at 1475 South Pearl Street. Tavern Hospitality Group, which bought the building, had a hearing with the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses on July 2 to transfer the liquor license, and that went through without a hitch -- or an objection from any neighbors.

Plans now call for starting a major renovation of the place in September, with a goal of opening in March or April, says Frank Schultz, who owns THG with his mother and stepfather.

Which is appropriate, because TGH now has a family of home-grown restaurants: the original Tavern Downtown (which started out as the Soiled Dove in 1997) and the nearby Cowboy Lounge, Soiled Dove Underground and Tavern Lowry, Tavern Uptown, Tavern Littleton, TavernTech Center and Tavern Wash Park, which is something of a prototype for Tavern Platt Park, since it, too, is on a commercial block in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

Schultz spent a lot of time talking to Platt Park neighbors and businesses on South Pearl before the hearing. He took care of parking concerns by buying two more properties in the area -- including the spot that's home to Buchtel Motors, which will continue to operate there during the day, while Tavern Platt Park parks cars there at night. After listening to residents behind the restaurant, he moved the patio from the back to the front; he'll also build a rooftop patio. And he'll pave the alley with concrete, to eliminate potholes.

Although THG has emphasized sustainability before, "this will be the first green Tavern," Schultz says. "We're escalating that to use more Colorado products, Colorado brands." It's more expensive, he acknowledges, and Tavern Platt Park may not make money for five or six years, but THG is in the neighborhood for the long haul. And if these innovations work, they could be introduced at already existing restaurants, as well as future spots in Highland and Boulder, "if we ever get there," Schultz says.

But while THG definitely has plans to grow, particularly in "character neighborhoods," Schultz and company aren't looking past state lines. They want to keep it Colorado.

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