LoHi SteakBar no longer has a stake in the restaurant game.
The steakhouse at 3200 Tejon St., along with its coffee shop next door, LoHi Local, will permanently close the doors on June 15, according to managing partner Joe Pettenger.
Both the businesses’ leases are up at the end of June, and Pettenger said he and his four other partners decided it was time to wrap things up.
“With all of the challenges that have occurred over the last couple of years, obviously COVID, staffing, raising rents, maintenance on certain things, equipment and everything else, and the lease coming up, my partners and I looked at each other and decided it was good of a time as any for all of us to take the next step,” Pettenger said.
LoHi SteakBar opened in 2010 and serves prime cuts of meat and an extensive list of cocktails and spirits. It was started by City Street Investors’ Joe Vostrejs, Rod Wagner and former Larimer Square owner Jeff Hermanson, plus former executive chef Sean Kelly.
The partners purchased the 4,726-square-foot space that LoHi SteakBar operates out of for $837,300 in 2008, according to property records. Pettenger said they are unsure what they’ll do with the space next and have not put it up for lease or sale yet.
In 2014, Pettenger and LoHi SteakBar’s current executive chef Taylor Drew bought Kelly out of the business. The two met while working for Bonanno Concepts.
LoHi Local opened in a 400-square-foot space next door in 2016 after a coffee shop across the street was demolished and the owners decided to replace it by opening one in their old private dining room.
Lately, Pettenger said the restaurant’s greatest challenge has been staffing, as it has for most local restaurateurs. LoHi SteakBar and LoHi Local have a staff of about 15 right now, but a full-time staff is usually around 25 employees. After the pandemic, he said, they lost a lot of employees who were moving to new states or careers.
“It’s either been really slow some days or it’s so busy that we can’t keep the wheels on the bus,” Pettenger said. “Staffing that type of inconsistency is very difficult.”
Pettenger and Drew also own a farm together called Forever West Farms, which has been growing produce for LoHi SteakBar since they started in 2019. The business partners have three acres in Arvada and 40 in Yampa, where Drew recently moved. In addition to vegetables, they have pigs, cows and chickens.
Now that LoHi SteakBar is closing, Pettenger and Drew plan to ramp up production on the farm and begin selling produce and meat to other restaurants around town.
“This has been one of the greatest experiences, and I will never forget the amount of things we learned,” Pettenger said. “I really don’t have regrets. It’s opened the opportunity to the farm, which is something we’re super passionate about, plus all the relationships we built while doing this. But the No. 1 thing I’m excited about is getting to spend more time with my family.”