April is the cruelest month of all — which holds true during a pandemic. For starters, the state government announced the easing of specific COVID-related business restrictions at the beginning of the month, even as cases and hospitalizations were on the rise. And restaurant workers have been dealing with a new wave of mask-holes and other entitled customers demanding their constitutional right to display their willful ignorance in public. Business is indeed picking up in the hospitality industry, but hiring has been tough (queue "lazy unemployment sponges" trumpeters), and some restaurants had to shutter for a day or two here and there while their entire staffs took vaccination days.
And then there are the weird food shortages: Boba! Chicken wings! Ketchup packets! (Seriously, ketchupers, put something else on your fries for a month or two.)
It's a wonder anyone would want to get into the restaurant game right now. And yet the openings keep happening — a lot of them — from local entrepreneurs and national chains alike, from Denver favorites doubling or tripling their footprints, from high-end eateries backed by big money, from food truck and food-court operators making the move to brick-and-mortar, and from moms and pops just looking to serve good food and make ends meet.
Have you been to the Ballpark neighborhood lately? If not, you'll be gobsmacked next time you set foot near Coors Field, because a tiny citadel called McGregor Square has arisen where once there was only a parking lot at the corner of 20th and Blake streets. A new hotel called the Rally is now operating there, so you can get things like cronut cheeseburger sliders at the Original, its ritzy take on an American diner, or a purple drink made to honor the Rockies (even if fans currently feel there's no honor at the ballpark) at the Rally Bar in the same hotel. In Golden, a new food hall called the Golden Mill is already seeing waves of locals and tourists packing its rooftop patio and bar, and in Cherry Creek, the trends of wood-fired cooking, pickling and fermenting have arrived with the opening of Of a Kind, albeit a few years after those things were considered cutting-edge in more adventurous parts of town.
April ushered in plenty of fried chicken, doughnuts, coffee and Mexican restaurants — and plenty of everything else, too. The industry as a whole may be suffering from exhaustion and a little shell shock after more than a year of dealing with the pandemic, but you wouldn't know it just from the openings. If you're vaxxed up and pumped up to hit the city again, though, look into the eyes of the people serving you food and drink; you may see a little trepidation still lingering, a little doubt about what this summer holds, a little fear and uncertainty about a steady income stream and a safe work environment. Have a little heart and patience when you try out these new places; many of the employees you encounter may be new to the business.
The list of closings is surprisingly brief, considering how long bars and restaurants have been running at partial capacity. We lost one of the longest-running karaoke nights in town when Ogden Street South closed, and fans of Boston sports were forced to find a new home when the Elm closed on East Colfax Avenue. On Old South Gaylord, Charcoal Bistro called it quits after four and a half years.
Here's our complete list of all the restaurant and bar openings and closings in April (and in case you missed it, here's the March roll call):
Restaurants and Bars Opening in April*
Altimeter Coffee Co. (at FlyteCo Brewing), 4499 West 38th Avenue
Awake, 2240 Clay Street
Bambu, 2215 South Broadway
Blazing Bird, 12368 West 64th Avenue, Arvada
Choice Market, 939 Bannock Street
Clean Eatz, 5979 East Colfax Avenue
Dave's Hot Chicken, 99 South Broadway
The Golden Mill, 1012 Ford Street, Golden
Gorlami Pizza (at Avanti F & B), 3200 Pecos Street
Hook & Reel Cajun Seafood & Bar, 9280 Sheridan Boulevard, Westminster
La Mariposa Restaurant & Margarita House, 2845 28th Street, Boulder
Lea Jane's Hot Chicken, 1441 26th Street
Mici Handcrafted Italian, 3707 Bloomington Road, Colorado Springs
My Neighbor Felix, 901 Pearl Street, Boulder
My Thai Cafe, 2524 Federal Boulevard
OAK Market, 233 Clayton Street
Odell Brewery Sloan's Lake Brewhouse, 1625 Perry Street
Of a Kind, 233 Clayton Street
The Original, 1600 20th Street
Parlor Doughnuts, 95 Lincoln Street
Pho 92 DIA, 6691 Tower Road
The Rally Bar, 1600 20th Street
Sawara, 1699 South Colorado Boulevard
Sazón, 6105 South Main Street, Aurora
Six Capital Brewing, 16702 East Iliff Avenue, Aurora
Stuboy's BBQ & Catering, 7431 Park Meadows Drive, Lone Tree
Supreme Chicken, 2295 South Chambers Road, Aurora
The Table Public House, 2190 South Platte River Drive
Third Culture Bakery & Matcha Cafe, 2500 Lawrence Street
Tight End, 1501 East Colfax Avenue
Tip Top Savory Pies, 6565 Gunpark Drive, Boulder
Ziggi's Coffee, 2720 West 104th Avenue
Restaurants and Bars Closing in April*
The Elm, 5001 East Colfax Avenue
Charcoal Bistro, 1028 South Gaylord Street
Ogden Street South, 103 South Ogden Street
Twin Fins Poke, 2720 South Colorado Boulevard
*Or earlier, and not previously reported.
Have you spotted any openings or closings not listed here? Let us know in the comments, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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