After several years hunting for just the right location, Neil Jorgensen is renovating a Sunnyside corner he hopes will become the local hangout.
Jorgensen was planning on opening the Blue Plains Tavern this summer but has pushed the date back six months to complete construction. He said the Blue Plains Tavern – at 44th Avenue and Zuni Street – will specialize in game meats and aim to attract local families.
Construction is still in the bidding process, but Jorgensen estimates the renovations will cost between $400,000 and $500,000.
“I wanted a neighborhood spot,” he said. “That neighborhood is starting to take off, but they really want something to call Sunnyside over there.”
Jorgensen bought the property in December for $685,000. He’d originally planned on leasing the space but bought it when the previous tenants moved out.
Jorgensen, 38, sees the Blue Plains Tavern as an alternative to the hip Highlands restaurant scene.
“There are some single, middle-aged people who are starting to move into that neighborhood,” he said. “But I’d say the majority will be families, whether it’s bringing the kids in or just mom and dad sneaking out for the night.”
Denver firm Studio K2 Architecture will redesign the restaurant’s interior, and architect Kristian Barowsky is leading the project.
Jorgensen has worked at Marlowe’s and Stoney’s Bar & Grill, but decided recently to go full-time with his plan for the Blue Plains Tavern. This will be his maiden voyage as a restaurant owner.
“I started this business plan about three years ago, and I just couldn’t find a spot for it,” he said. “Toward the end of last year, I stopped working at restaurants and started doing this full-time, and it took off from there.”
Jorgensen said he’ll likely hire about 30 part- and full-time employees by the time the Blue Plains Tavern opens.