Cafe Society

The future's looking brighter for restaurants at the Beauvallon

In the five years since its completion in 2005, the Beauvallon has swallowed up a lot of restaurants.

The space at 975 Lincoln Street that now houses Japoix was originally occupied by Moda Ristorante and Lounge, which developer Jim Sullivan turned into nine75 just a year later. Sullivan ultimately sold that restaurant to the Jet Entertainment group, which closed its version of nine75 in July 2009. Aqua Oyster Bar once held down the corner at the other end of the block, in a space that hasn't seen an occupant since Jay Chadrom, who owns Opal across the street, pulled the plug on Aqua in 2008.

Between those addresses were many more restaurants that came and went. The space at 925 Lincoln that today houses Se7en, another Asian fusion concept that opened last year, was previously home to Wholly Tomato, Marni's Steak & Seafood (for about a minute) and Mr. Coco's Bar & Grill (for not much longer). A few doors up, at 955 Lincoln, Dolce Vita, Deli Zone and Brandon's Pub all gave the Beauvallon a try, then bowed out. Aviano Coffee was the last joint to pick up and move out, heading to Cherry Creek North when the building's repair job became insufferable last year. (Brandon's had already reopened in Cherry Creek.)

Did the Beauvallon just attract a bunch of bad concepts, or was it cursed?

In part, the exodus was prompted by a $21 million lawsuit that the homeowners' association filed against Craig Nassi, developer of the opulent, stone-faced edifice: Just two years after the mixed-use space saw retailers, restaurateurs and homeowners move in, major construction defects began to show up. Condo owners began to bail soon after, followed by many of the retailers.

When the scaffolding and plastic finally went up in 2010 so the building could be repaired, it covered a complex whose ground floor was mostly empty; it looked like a shroud. But the promise that the work would soon be done, coupled with some very good lease deals, inspired a couple of brave restaurateurs to try the block again, and both Se7en and Japoix opened before the repairs were done.

Now that the Beauvallon has been unwrapped, with the sidewalks returned to pedestrians and parking once again possible in front, things are looking up. Better luck this time.

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk