Openings and Closings

Wayward to Shutter on April 15 After Eight Months in Riverfront Park

Wayward took over the former Zengo space on Little Raven Street.
Wayward took over the former Zengo space on Little Raven Street. Danielle Lirette
When Wayward subsumed the space vacated by longtime Denver restaurant Zengo and its sibling bar, La Güera, at 1610 Little Raven Street, partners Chad Michael George, Jared Schwartz and Kade Gianinetti hoped to bring the ethos that drives their other ventures, the Way Back and American Grind, to a bigger stage. But while those other ventures continue to thrive — the Way Back in its new digs at 3963 Tennyson Street — Wayward never quite got traction, despite a menu and bottomless happy-hour deal tailored to the young professionals who populate the surrounding apartment complexes. And today the team announced that it will close the restaurant on Sunday, April 15.

"We were a young restaurant group that took a big chance, and we're proud of that," says Schwartz. "We're pumped that we tried. We have two other locations that are great, and we know that we're doing really great things for the city. We want to move on and focus on the Way Back, American Grind and potentially something else in the space."

To that end, Schwartz says, the group is in talks with the building's landlord to bring something permanent to the former La Güera space, where they've hosted a series of pop-up bars, including the Miracle on Little Raven Christmas-themed bar and a Spring Break pop-up bar. "We're looking to try and find something that fits the neighborhood; we really want to serve the neighborhood. Wayward might not have been the answer."

The team is also helping employees at Wayward land new positions, whether at the Way Back, American Grind or other restaurants around the city. "We're working hard to find them all positions," says Schwartz. "In this market, it won't be hard to get them set up."

American Grind (located inside Avanti Food & Beverage) and the Way Back will continue to do business as usual.
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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