Grandma’s moved out of Trinidad.
The brewery, that is.
In 2021, two Denver-based businesses – Sexy Pizza and Grandma’s House brewery – decided to expand down to the city just north of the Colorado-New Mexico border.
“It was sort of an impulsive decision to open the bar down there,” Grandma’s House founder Matthew Fuerst said. “Sort of a combination of mid-COVID stir craziness and Denver kind of changing quickly.”
Sexy Pizza co-owner Kayvan Khalatbari bought the historic train depot building at 516 E. Elm St. that year and invited Grandma’s House to rent a portion of the 4,000 square-foot space.
“We certainly wanted to share the space with them and have them succeed,” said Kyle Peters, another of Sexy Pizza’s co-owners. “It’s a really cool building. We took it over and tried to do a nice good face-lift and keep that historic charm.”
But, just shy of two years later, Grandma’s House has closed the taps.
“We knew it was going to be an uphill climb, and the first year was decent, but for a variety of reasons in year two we just saw a drop in revenue,” Fuerst said.
Fuerst said revenue dropped nearly two-thirds. And despite not wanting to be a “dive bar,” Grandma’s ended up selling cans of Coors Light to try to meet demand and make some sales.
“Denver and Trinidad are very night and day; what works in Denver doesn’t necessarily work in Trinidad,” Fuerst said. “I think long term there’s a lot of promise down there, and I still haven’t completely ruled out having a presence down there.”
Fuerst said he agreed to an 18-month lease with Sexy Pizza so he could easily leave if business wasn’t working. Negotiations to terminate the lease, which Fuerst described as “a little contentious,” started last winter.
Peters said the restaurant occupied the kitchen, the brewery had the bar (Grandma’s House didn’t do any brewing in Trinidad) and they shared the dining room space. Now, the pizza joint will take over the bar and Grandma’s liquor license, with plans to stock a variety of Colorado craft beers.
In addition, Peters said it’s working on changing the style of the dining space to match Sexy Pizza, as opposed to Grandma’s House.
“Our Denver locations have been established for a while, so there’s certainly a different dynamic there,” Peters said. “We’re very hopeful that we’ll continue to grow down there, help others continue to grow and be a part of, what I think, will be a thriving arts, music, food scene.”
Grandma’s House first opened at 1710 S. Broadway in Denver in 2014; that location did $450,000 in revenue last year, Fuerst said. As the name suggests, the brand was developed around the taproom feeling like a grandma’s house, with cozy furniture, knickknacks and puzzles.
“We’re always trying to make the best beer we can, but we’re certainly known for our atmosphere,” Fuerst said.