Food News

Wells Fargo Helps Restaurante El Tamarindo, Other East Colfax Businesses

The Fax Executive Director Monica Martinez speaks at a December 14 press conference with Mayor Hancock at Restaurante El Tamarindo.
The Fax Executive Director Monica Martinez speaks at a December 14 press conference with Mayor Hancock at Restaurante El Tamarindo. Molly Martin
On November 1, Well Fargo reached out to longtime nonprofit the Fax Partnership with an offer: a $75,000 grant through its Hope USA program to improve small businesses in an effort to revitalize them following the challenges of the pandemic. And you can already see the results at bars and restaurants along East Colfax Avenue.

With a directive to use the funds before the end of the year, the Fax Partnership immediately went to work identifying businesses that could use the help and potential projects. "East Colfax is a little more complicated than just murals and twinkling lights," explains Fax executive director Monica Martinez. "So we said, 'Yes, let's do some beautification. But we also want to do some safety improvements.'"
click to enlarge On December 14, Wells Fargo volunteers stained tables and part of Restaurante El Tamarindo's exterior as part of the beautification efforts. - MOLLY MARTIN
On December 14, Wells Fargo volunteers stained tables and part of Restaurante El Tamarindo's exterior as part of the beautification efforts.
Molly Martin
One beneficiary of the grant is Restaurante El Tamarindo at 7700 East Colfax Avenue. "My parents used to own this restaurant for twelve years," says Michelle Santillanes, who purchased it with her husband, Luis, two months ago. "It was a big change to take ownership, and it was a big change with this opportunity that opened up to us, so we are very thankful."

Restaurante El Tamarindo serves Central American food, and the grant covered a new, brightly colored mural by Denver artist Tom Ward that pays homage to Santillanes's Salvadorian heritage. On December 14, Wells Fargo volunteers were on hand, helping to stain tables that will be used in a new outdoor seating area; the restaurant also received a new sign.

Other businesses benefiting from the grant are East Fax Tap, at 8001 East Colfax Avenue (former home of the Hangar Bar), which has a new Colfax-themed mural by Denver artist Ratha Sok; Famous Buffalo Wings & Things and East Colfax Liquor, at East Colfax and Uinta Street, where safety cameras and lighting improvement were installed and broken windows were replaced; and El Chalate, at 8119 East Colfax, which also received new safety cameras.
click to enlarge The Hope USA grant paid for a new mural at East Fax Tap by Denver artist Ratha Sok. - MOLLY MARTIN
The Hope USA grant paid for a new mural at East Fax Tap by Denver artist Ratha Sok.
Molly Martin
The Wells Fargo program is helping seventeen markets across the country, including Denver. "The Fax Partnership, their focus is on helping small businesses and affordable housing, which are two of Wells Fargo's priorities," explains Wells Fargo community relations senior manager Shelley Marquez. "To be able to collaborate with them on this body of work, knowing that they're working directly with grassroots business owners — they're the right ones to be working with."

"We envision East Colfax as an international destination where folks around the state and the metro area come to East Colfax for the wonderful kind of food you see at El Tamarindo, or the Asian spices you can get at Family Asian Market," adds Martinez. "Colfax is a destination, and this is the beginning of that investment."
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Molly Martin is the Westword Food & Drink editor. She’s been writing about the dining scene in Denver since 2013, and was eating her way around the city long before that. She enjoys long walks to the nearest burrito joint and nights spent sipping cocktails on Colfax.
Contact: Molly Martin