You might not know the name Tom Ryan, but you've probably heard of Smashburger, the fast-casual concept he founded in Denver in 2007. Smashburger has been a smashing success, expanding to 200 locations worldwide in just a few years and nabbing the Forbes' title of "most promising company" in America in the process. Now this former McDonald's executive and muse behind Pizza Hut's stuffed-crust pizzas is focusing on something that might give him, rather than his brands, that same level of recognition: Tom's Urban 24.
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Launched in the sunny, big-windowed, two-story space previously occupied by Samba Room on a prime corner of Larimer Square, Ryan's latest venture isn't fast-food or even fast-casual, but -- as you might expect from someone with his background -- it does have a gimmick. Tom's never closes, serving non-stop comfort food to business lunchers and weekend brunchers, show-goers and late-night bartenders who get off work and aren't ready to head home. With its round-the-clock hours and a menu dotted with dishes like the Midnight Slopper and Colorado Hot Brown, it has the feel of an upscale diner, but Ryan is quick to stress otherwise. "We're Tom's Urban 24," he says. "We're not a diner." Hungry to know more? Read the rest of Gretchen Kurtz's review of Tom's Urban 24 here.