Restaurant and property owner Frank Schultz, co-founder of the Tavern Hospitality Group, recently eliminated some of his lineup, causing a shakeup in two Denver neighborhoods. And now that the dust has settled, we know what's coming in LoDo and Platt Park.
Last summer Schultz closed the Tavern Downtown, at 1949 Market Street, and its next-door neighbor, the Cowboy Lounge; he'd already sold the buildings that housed them, as well as the nearby Cook Street School of Culinary Arts (the school has since reopened in the Golden Triangle). At the time, there was much speculation that pricey new condos and apartments would spring up on the block, but three new food and booze establishments are actually moving in.
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A trio of California operators — Knitting Factory Entertainment, the Buckhead Group and Fillmore Capital Partners — are bringing in El Tejano, Loaded and Smash Face Brewery & Tap Room. The first is a Tex-Mex concept — promising carne asada tater tots, Frito pie and a help-yourself chips and salsa bar — with three locations in Los Angeles. Smash Face is a brewery named not for the act of drunken LoDo revelers keeling over on the sidewalk, but for breathing-impaired dog breeds like French bulldogs, pugs and Boston terriers. And Loaded will be a club stop for fans of ’80s music, throwback vinyl and cheap drinks (underemployed Gen-Xers, for example). One thing that won't be changing is the nonstop party atmosphere that has defined the block since Coors Field opened in 1995.
Schultz continued to trim back his restaurant group at the end of 2019, closing the Tavern Platt Park, citing higher property taxes, rising wages and increased competition. He sold the building at 1475 South Pearl Street, which had housed a series of restaurants (India's Pearl, Lola, Micole and Greens before that) to Steve Lockton, who opened Jack's Uptown on East 17th Avenue in 2017 and closed the spot last fall. But it turned out to be less of a closure and more of a move, as Lockton will reopen Jack's, named after his dad, in his newly purchased Platt Park restaurant space.
That's just one of many recent changes on Old South Pearl, along with the departure of Palizo and Hanson's, and the arrival of Chook, Quiero Arepas and Hazel Art Bar.