“I was going to quit all my bad habits for the new year but then I remembered that nobody likes a quitter” -Anonymous.
Regardless of how you are doing with your new year resolutions I hope things have gotten off to a rousing start in your world so far in 2020. With a national election on the horizon you know things will not be dull and it seems the local scene in Denver is always in the throes of some entertaining upheaval so we will just buckle up and get ready for the ride. Fortunately, on the most local level, Platt Park and Washington Park, life seems to be pretty good—lots going on but mostly heading in positive directions. Let’s get you caught up.
Quite a few changes happening over on the western edge of Platt Park as a few New Businesses Move In on South Broadway (SOBO). The VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) has had a presence along South Broadway for many decades. Originally, they owned the building at 1545 S Broadway then moved to their current location at 1350 S Broadway. VFW posts exist to support veterans in all manner of ways and the Posts have long been places for social gatherings and shared camaraderie. Membership, for various reasons has been in steady decline over the years making operating many VFW Posts difficult. Such was the case with the Broadway Post with its 8700 square foot building, so in December the building was sold for $2.1 million. The building was purchased by an investor who also owns the Luv Bridal building across the street. They are currently in discussions with various parties to put in a restaurant and intend to spend between $400,000 to $500,000 to renovate the space. The developer hopes to honor the VFW by keeping the mural of the American flag intact and perhaps use some of the old elements of the VFW post in the new project. Stay tuned.
Coincidentally a new restaurant has opened their doors in the original VFW building (1545 S Broadway). Gypsy House Café began serving guest in early fall 2019 offering up a wide assortment of yumminess. If the name sounds familiar it is because the café was originally located at 1279 Marion Street in Cap Hill where it began in 2004. Neighborhood and lease changes caused the owners and sisters Doniece and Dena Derani to seek a new location. The building is hard to miss, situated between Certified Tattoo Studio and Alternation Brewing Company it is painted with brightly colored murals on both the front and sides. The interior has a bohemian vide with warm eclectic decorations and an assortment of tables, couches and semi-private spaces for eating and gathering. Doniece and Dena want the place to be a welcoming space for the community. Like the former location the café has live music, comedy, poetry readings a yoga studio in the lower level and is adorned with works from local artists.
Gypsy House Café is also about the food. The Derani sisters have deep Mediterranean roots and the cuisine reflects that. Menu favorites like falafels, pitas, Greek salads, hummus and much more reflect their culture. More traditional café fare is also offered. It is a fun place and definitely worth crossing to the west side to check it out. Hours of operation are daily from 10 am till 10 pm each evening.
Moving into the recently vacated home of Acero Urban Cantina is a new Cajun restaurant Magnolia Cajun Dining (1446 S Broadway). If you are like me, more than once I’ve been befuddled that Lucile’s Creole Café inexplicably closes each day at 2:00 leaving me nowhere to go for that late-night Gumbo craving. Enter Magnolia to satisfy all cravings for traditional Cajun fare. Chef and co-owner Eric McDaniel along with his wife Katie O’Loughlin grew up in Louisiana surrounded by Cajun food and culture. It has been their passion to bring authentic Cajun food to the adventurous palates of fellow Denverites.
The menu certainly lives up to the billing. Fans of Cajun food will find Cajun stables like Shrimp Remoulade, Seafood Gumbo, Crawfish Etouffee along with some lesser known specialties (Swamp Witch Po-Boy) some of which came from Eric’s grandmother. Eric and Katie have taken pains to ensure the flavors are authentic even shipping in spices and fresh Louisiana crawfish to ensure the flavors are just right. The space has been lightly renovated. There is a full bar. Magnolia is open daily for lunch from 11 am till 2 pm and again for dinner from 5 pm till 10 pm.
Before we leave Broadway here’s one for my fellow skiers and riders out there. Meier Skis has taken over the space at 1775 S Broadway as their new manufacturing and retail outlet. Ski equipment is generally dominated by large international companies but a few small, locally-made, companies are making an impact in the market place. Meier skis and snowboards are all handmade using Colorado aspen and beetle-kill pine. Visitors are welcome to drop over and watch the manufacturing process. The company makes 16 different skis and snowboards and they will even make custom gear for you. The company employs 13 people and as Ted Eynon, the owner says “…we’re trying to show that you can make manufacturing still work here in the United States”.
A few things I know and don’t know…. I don’t know what is going on over at Pasquinis (1310 S Broadway). It has been closed and undergoing a significant remodel but as of this writing not sure of the plan…. I do know that Toshi and Yasu Kizaki, owners of Sushi Den purchased the old Gaia Bistro building (1551 S Pearl St) and are in the process of building something new. Brilliant minds would speculate it will be another restaurant but I don’t know the details. The name Denchu Den has been floating about…. I do know the old Buchtel Motors (1230 S Pearl St) site sold for the princely sum of $3.9 million but I don’t know what is planned for the site. Guessing not another auto garage.
And finally, a last thought for the beginning of your new year, Benjamin Franklin once said, “Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each year find you a better man.” Indeed.
See you around the neighborhood,