Openings and Closings

The Matador gets its liquor license -- and could soon be pouring tequila on West 32nd Avenue

The Matador is moving into the original home of Heidi's Deli, at 3496 West 32nd Avenue. But not as quickly as it had wanted to. Initially, the Seattle-based Tex-Mex chain had hoped to open its eighth location (there are four in the Seattle area, two in Portland and one in Boise) by Cinco de Mayo -- a perfect date to roll out its more than 100 varieties of tequila. But that was before the Highland Mommies started complaining that the area already had enough Mexican restaurants (El Camino is just two blocks away, Pinche Taqueria three) not to mention enough liquor licenses. (Heidi's did not have one.) And the West Highlands Neighborhood Association officially opposed the liquor-license application. See also: - Last Call at the original Heidi's in West Denver - The Highland Mommies are raising babies and raising Cain in northwest Denver - Common Grounds will pour its last cup of coffee at original location

At the end of a lengthy hearing on April 8, though, the hearing officer, Kimberly Chandler, issued this recommendation: "Having considered the evidence described above, it is concluded by the weight thereof that the Applicant has sustained its burden to show that there is a need for the applied-for hotel and restaurant liquor license at the establishment known and designated as The Matador, 3496 West 32nd Avenue, Denver, Colorado, 80211, to meet the reasonable requirements of the neighborhood; and, that the inhabitants of the designated neighborhood desire that this license issue. IT IS RECOMMENDED that the license application be approved."

Tom Downey, the director of the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses, got more than two dozen objections to that recommendation, as well as a response to those objections from the applicant, Mat-Denver. And on April 30, he issued a final decision noting that he found no legal grounds for overturning the hearing officer's recommendation -- but also encouraged the restaurant's owners, neighbors and residents groups to "continue working together."

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