Zolo Grill Will Close After 26 Years Serving Southwestern Cuisine

Zolo Grill is closing after 26 years in Boulder.EXPAND
Zolo Grill is closing after 26 years in Boulder.
Courtesy of Big Red F
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Zolo Grill opened at 2525 Arapahoe Avenue in Boulder back in 1994. It was chef/restaurateur Dave Query's first solo restaurant in what would become his Big Red F restaurant group, which now includes several Jax Fish House and Post Brewing Co. locations, as well as Lola Coastal Mexican, Centro Mexican Kitchen and the West End Tavern.

For 26 years, the restaurant has carried the torch for Southwestern cuisine, so that Boulder residents have never been too far from a good margarita, chile relleno or plate of enchiladas. But Query has decided to close Zolo Grill; the restaurant will serve its last dinner on Wednesday, November 25, marking the end of a thread connecting Boulder's dining past and present.

For years before Zolo Grill opened, Query had been building relationships with Boulder County farmers to supply seasonal produce at restaurants where he worked, making Zolo ahead of its time in the farm-to-table movement.

Here's the message that Query sent to the many guests and employees of the Boulder cantina:

After 26 unimaginably wonderful years, our long and celebrated run at The Zolo Grill has come to an end. Despite our hardest work — the very best food maybe ever these last six months and the continuance of the resonate ZoLoLoVe post-Covid, as well as a solid partnership effort from our landlord Tom Gart in trying to find some firm ground during these shaky times — this is an unavoidable decision. Every one of our current Zolo employees will be finding their way into our other local restaurants over the next few weeks.

When we opened Zolo in 1994, I was following the footsteps of my chef heroes at the time — Jimmy Schmidt, Michael McCarty, Brendan Walsh — in bringing Southwestern cuisine to Boulder. Zolo was the very first restaurant in The Red F Family with a passion for tequila, a fresh shaken margarita and lots of great relationships with all the iconic local farmers at that time. As the eldest of the group, Zolo was a place where we had so many firsts. The culture of hospitality that is deeply rooted in all of our restaurants now, was, in many ways, born at Zolo. Many of our core employees who worked with us for 10, 15, and 20-plus years started at Zolo.

We will cherish the great years and memories we've had within these four walls. By our estimation, Zolo has served almost three million meals to friends and regulars and tourists during our tour of duty over the last almost 27 years. First dates, last dates, birthdays, births, deaths, anniversaries, promotion and graduation celebrations, marriage proposals, I hate you divorce tequila shots, and just about anything and everything in between that someone might hoist a glass to. So many college kids who worked with us in the beginning met and married at Zolo and then brought their kids in car seats while they enjoyed dinner and a Zolorita. Later, they came in to eat while their kids bussed and hosted and served, my own children included. I can think of dozens of Zolo weddings and a grip of Zolo kids.

It's been so fun running a restaurant that crosses generations, and being able to do it in the town I grew up in is an enormous honor and privilege.

Due to this crazy pandemic, we won't be hosting the sort of burn-down-the-house tequila dance party that we'd like to, but we will be open until Wednesday, November 25th if you'd like to join us for one last plate of the OG chicken enchiladas — Xmas — and a Zolorita or two.

Thank you to all of our guests for your incredible and passionate support of Zolo over these last three decades. And the deepest and most sincere thank you to the many, many, many righteously incredible folks who worked a shift or 5000 at Zolo. You have become such good friends and are such amazing alumni. Every single one of you gave us so much credibility, every single day that you decided to show up to work. I stand in gratitude with a deep curtsy to you all.

Thank you, Boulder. Lights out.

Raise a Southwestern toast to Zolo Grill one last time.EXPAND
Raise a Southwestern toast to Zolo Grill one last time.
Courtesy Big Red F

Over the past eight months, Query and his team have worked to reinvent all of the Big Red F restaurants to tap into additional revenue streams as dining rooms shut down completely and then reopened at limited capacity. Takeout has become standard, pop-ups have helped draw in customers, and walk-up windows have given neighbors access to food and booze to go.

And it all started at Zolo Grill, which is open for takeout, delivery and in-house dining from 4 to 9 p.m. daily until the day before Thanksgiving. Call 303-449-0444 or visit the restaurant's website for details and ordering.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.