Tom's Starlight Closes on East Colfax in Denver | Westword

Tom's Starlight Closes on East Colfax

The resurrected Tom's Diner was open for just over a year.
Tom's Starlight is "Closed 4 Good."
Tom's Starlight is "Closed 4 Good." Molly Martin
Share this:
"I'm very proud of what we did here," says Tom Messina, who opened Tom's Starlight at 601 East Colfax Avenue last September. For two decades, he'd run the Googie-style building as Tom's Diner, a 24/7 staple in Capitol Hill.

But by 2019, he was ready to retire and in talks with a housing developer when "a Goody Two Shoes showed up," he told Westword last year, referring to a neighborhood petition to get historic designation for the building, which would have prevented its destruction — and also greatly reduced the amount Messina could get for the property.

Instead, in a win-win effort, Historic Denver engineered a purchase of Messina's property by history-friendly developer GBX Group, which not only secured protective landmark designation for the building, but transformed the former diner into a swanky spot inspired by 1920s Palm Springs, complete with a sprawling outdoor space that was our 2023 Best of Denver editor's pick for Best Restaurant Patio.
click to enlarge
Tom Messina celebrating the opening of Tom's Starlight with a ribbon cutting on October 13, 2022.
Molly Martin
Earlier this month, the building was honored by Historic Denver at an awards ceremony that name-checked both Messina and GBX. But by then, the restaurant — though still open — was already listed for lease, according to David, Hicks & Lampert.

Now a handwritten sign on the front door says "Closed 4 Good." Messina confirmed the news, saying that he's ready to get back to retirement. "It's too good of a spot," he says. "Someone will come in and do good by it."
Can you help us continue to share our stories? Since the beginning, Westword has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver — and we'd like to keep it that way. Our members allow us to continue offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food, and culture with no paywalls.