Zi South opens on Blake Street on St. Paddy's Day

Jerry Sturm, a former Denver Broncos guard and pro bowler, along with his wife, Deb, have run the South Restaurant in Greenwood Village for more than four decades, turning out Mexican-American fare and giant margaritas to patrons who frequent their sports-bar-like haunt. But when they partnered with their son, Brett, and his business partner, Jon Pratt, last year to open a new concept, they looked for a space in the center of the city.

They found it on Blake Street, in the heart of the city's sports bars and clubs neighborhood, and they hired Roth Sheppard -- the architects of several Denver concepts, including nearby Vesta Dipping Grill and Modmarket -- to build Zi South into what Brett describes as "a classy, sophisticated place -- but without the upscale prices."

The restaurant and bar, "designed to reflect the spacious curves of Coors Field's outfield," according to a Roth Sheppard press release, is massive; between the interior and two outdoor patios, it has room to feed and lubricate nearly 200 patrons.

Zi South will feature similar dishes to those at the South, including several offered by its older sibling restaurant. "We're known for our quesorito, and we'll be bringing over our fajitas, which I think are phenomenal," says Brett. But the group also added several dishes available only at Zi, like a red-chile-pecan-pesto New York strip. That menu pairs to a drink list focused on margaritas and tequila.

Brett had hoped to get open by late winter or early spring, and he made it. Zi South is gearing up to pour this weekend, and it will open its doors to greet crowds on one of the biggest party days of the year: The restaurant starts serving at 11 a.m. on St. Patrick's Day.

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