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Want to eat in Highland? Prepare for a parking crunch

The restaurant scene is exploding at the edge of Highland -- where LoHi SteakBar and Squeaky Bean joined the lineup last summer, and Highland Tap and Burger will soon open in the former home of Aztec Sol and Panaderia Guadalajara, at 2223 West 32nd Avenue. But the scene is just going to get crazier next March, when Breckenridge Brewery is slated to open Amato's Ale House at 2501 16th Street.

That's the corner where the Amato family had sold statuary and garden decor since 1946. Some of those statues will decorate the new restaurant -- "This will be a little more upscale than a typical brewpub," Ron Piscitelli, director of restaurant operations, told Jonathan Shikes -- and patriarch Carlo Amato will have a role in the place, too.

Some of the details are still being worked out. One of the biggest? Parking, already at a premium in that area, which has been labeled as one of the city's "hot pockets" by the Department of Public Works' traffic engineering division. Public Works has been doing a comprehensive study of the area, and has identified 480 parking spaces on the streets in surrounding blocks - but neighbors and customers of local businesses are already fighting over those.

Amato's Ale House will have 400 or so seats, and under current zoning, it's only required to provide two spaces -- but the city has waived even that requirement. Still, the Breckenridge folks are working hard to accommodate the neighborhood, and reps of Amato's Ale House will be at the Highland United Neighbors board meeting on Tuesday, August 17, to talk about their project and listen to local concerns -- well in advance of their September 17 liquor-license hearing with the city.

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