The sad news broke on Monday, as bartenders and servers started telling their regulars to save the date. After close to three decades, Cherokee Dining on 12th Avenue will close on October 14. But at least it will go out with a big party.
"Brunch is really popular here, so we'll do that one last time, close for a few hours and then reopen at five for a party," Deana Mikdad, who owns the restaurant with her sister, Rhonda Vogts, since her mother retired ten years ago, told Lori Midson."We just want people to get together, have a good time, share stories of what this place meant to them and make a great lasting memory of 28 amazing years."
And here's just one of the stories: Dog the Bounty Hunter -- aka Duane Chapman -- and his wife, Beth, love the place.
They were regulars at the Cherokee when Dog was working in bail bonds and getting his bounty-hunting business off the ground; Beth worked in the area, too, as an investigator. And they' like to drop by the Cherokee when they're back in Colorado -- although they're now based in Hawaii, they have a store in Edgewater and a place south of town, and return often.
I met them on the Cherokee's patio in July, for a wide-ranging (and largely off-the-record, for now) conversation accompanied by some of the Cherokee's green chile (Beth is a big fan). Westword has written many stories about Dog over the years, including a piece on his TV debut a dozen years ago. But we could never have predicted how hot he would become.
Colorado doesn't have many celebrities, but even so, Dog and Beth would have to qualify in the top five. During our lunch, people kept doing double-takes as they walked by on the sidewalk, then ran back to take pictures. And Cherokee employees came out to snap a few, too. As did I.
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Will Dog and Beth be back for the Cherokee's closing party? Stay tuned.