Running list: Denver restaurants that won’t reopen as coronavirus restrictions ease

Lacour will not reopen. (Photos courtesy Janet Poth)

(Last updated June 24)

These are unprecedented months for the restaurant industry.

In mid-March, in Denver and most of the country, state and local orders barred restaurants from hosting dine-in patrons. That left only delivery and takeout, which many restaurants opted to skip.

Industry officials immediately said many restaurants likely would not reopen.

Three months later, here are the known closures in the Denver area. Some were announced in March, and others have become clear as dine-in restrictions have begun to ease locally.

This page will be updated as we learn more. Are we missing some? Email reporter Thomas Gounley at thomas@businessden.com.

It’s in reverse chronological order, so closures that became clear more recently are listed up top. Click the name for more in-depth coverage.

Here’s the list:

Buchi Cafe Cubano: The restaurant at 2651 W. 38th Ave. in Sunnyside said on its Facebook page June 22 that it had permanently closed.  It opened in 2008. A Leadville location added in 2019 continues to operate.

Frijoles Colorado Cuban Cafe: The eatery at 12095 W. Alameda Ave. in Lakewood has permanently closed, according to Westword.

Armida’s: The Mexican restaurant at 840 Lincoln St. is changing its name to La Milpa and jettisoning the karaoke nights for which it’s become known, according to the Denver Post, which reported that the restaurant’s ownership is not changing.

Chuey Fu’s Baja Cantina: Owner Joe Knoblich said “the handwriting was on the wall” for the restaurant at 2100 16th St. in Riverfront Park even before the pandemic arrived. Chuey Fu’s still has brick-and-mortar locations along Santa Fe Drive and in Englewood.

Blue Pebble: The restaurant at 698 Santa Fe Drive in Lincoln Park had just opened in the fall, replacing Pistol Whip, another concept that lasted less than six months. The building’s owner said the tattoo shop he owns next door will move in.

Old Major: Owner Justin Brunson told BusinessDen he’s closing Old Major to focus on his meat processing company River Bear American Meats, a decision he might not have made were if not for the coronavirus. The restaurant at 3316 Tejon St. in LoHi opened in 2013.

There: The restaurant at 3254 Navajo St. in LoHi said on its Facebook page in early June that it wouldn’t reopen. A sister location in Telluride, which preceded the Denver location, continues to operate.

Meadowlark Kitchen: A co-owner of the restaurant at 2705 Larimer St. in RiNo told BusinessDen in early June that it won’t reopen. It opened in late 2014.

Royal Rooster, Mother Tongue and Pizzeria Coperta in Broadway Market: Three of the food hall’s original concepts didn’t return when it reopened after nearly three months, according to Westword.

Punch Bowl Social (Stapleton location): The Denver-based chain, whose locations are both restaurants and entertainment complexes, still expects to reopen its original location on Broadway. The Stapleton location opened in 2017.

The Cereal Box: The cafe at 5709 Olde Wadsworth Blvd. in Arvada opened in 2017, and dished up wacky cereal combinations, including the bestseller “unicorn poop.” Co-owner Lori Hofer said the business’ lease was expiring and its landlord wanted to take over the space.

Costa Vida (some locations): The Utah-based Mexican chain closed restaurants in Arvada and Stapleton in April.

Rubio’s Coastal Grill: The CEO of the California-based fish taco chain told BusinessDen in early June that its six Colorado locations — in Denver, Lakewood, Littleton, Aurora, Highlands Ranch and Broomfield — were done.

Tony Roma’s: Signage for the chain’s location downtown at 1480 Arapahoe St. had been removed by early June. The restaurant, known for its steak and ribs, opened in early 2018.

12@Madison: 5280 reported in late May that chef-owner Jeff Osaka would not reopen his restaurant at 1160 Madison St. in Congress Park. It opened in late 2016.

The Oceanaire Seafood Room: A representative for parent company Landry’s told BusinessDen in late May that the chain’s location at 1400 Arapahoe St. would not reopen. It had been there since July 2007.

Morton’s The Steakhouse: BusinessDen reported in late May that the chain, also owned by Landry’s, had nixed its location downtown at 1745 Wazee St., along with some in other cities.

Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom (Denver location): The chain, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early March, confirmed the closure in mid-May.

Tom’s Diner: The diner at 601 E. Colfax Ave. in Denver had been planning to close in June, but that date was moved up when dine-in service was nixed, according to Westword.

Next Stop Brewing Co.: OK, this one is a brewery, not a restaurant. Westword reported in mid-May the business at 925 W. 8th Ave., formerly known as the Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project, would close May 30, citing competition and COVID.

La Cour: The French bistro, jazz club and art bar on South Broadway was located at 1643 S. Broadway. The owners now are trying to sell the real estate.

Biju’s Little Curry Shop: Biju’s briefly had three locations in Denver, but was down to one at 4279 Tennyson St. in Berkeley when owner Biju Thomas announced in early May that it wouldn’t reopen.

Scratch Burrito & Happy Tap: The restaurant at 4262 N. Lowell Blvd. opened in 2013 and called it quits in late April after initially doing takeout as the pandemic set in, according to The Denver Post.

20th Street Cafe: The restaurant at 1123 20th St. had been in the same family and location since 1946. The owners said that, had it not been for the pandemic, they likely would have stayed open for two more years.

Wendell’s: The diner at 3838 Tennyson St. announced it was “indefinitely” closed on its Facebook page on March 17. The post didn’t explain why, but came as Denver’s dine-in prohibition began. It opened in 2018.

The Market at Larimer Square: The deli and small grocery at 1415 Larimer St. had been open for 42 years, and under the same ownership for the last 37. “I reinvented The Market every five years for 37 years, and I just wasn’t ready to reinvent myself again after closing,” Mark Greenberg told BusinessDen.

Euclid Hall: The restaurant at 1317 14th St. said in mid-March that it wouldn’t reopen. Its lease was up in August, and ownership already had been looking to move, according to Westword. No new location has been announced.

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Eric Dolo
Eric Dolo
22 days ago

Real sad, the corporate owned titans like Morton’s, Oceanaire, Tony Roma’s & Rubio’s (all corporate chains, that are still open in most other cities) got bailouts, mom & pop restaurants got screwed & are going away for good. Where’s the bailouts for mom & pop locales? They NEVER got any of the PPP $ that corporate muckity mucks like Landry’s received. Priorities are ALL out of whack, & fundamentals need to be drastically changed.

Carrie McLaughlin
Carrie McLaughlin
16 days ago

I will really miss the Market in Larimer Square. It was the place for coffee and baked goods when my friends and I would bike to downtown from Littleton. That was years ago, but I still love the place.

Katelyn Schwarz
Katelyn Schwarz
10 days ago

There was such a fun spot to get drinks and their food was amazing. Will definitely miss that spot!