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RiNo’s Walnut Room renovation complete; The Who’s Simon Townsend performs on May 3

The Walnut Room has completed an expansion and renovation of the kitchen at its River North location, 3131 Walnut St.

The six-week project doubled the size of The Walnut Room’s original kitchen, providing much-needed space to accommodate upgraded equipment, including two new pizza ovens.

“These changes will allow us to run our food operations more efficiently and provide better quality food to our patrons,” said John Burr, owner of The Walnut Room.

The larger kitchen will make it easier for Chef Jonah Munson to eventually expand the restaurant’s menu, which features an array of pizzas, sandwiches and salads. Music fans may also notice that The Walnut Room’s concert hall also includes a new bar, since the last one was removed to make way for the new kitchen. The music venue still has capacity for 180 people for concerts and can host up to 65 for seated events, such as rehearsal dinners or private receptions.

While concerts were suspended during the construction, the venue has resumed its regular slate of shows, which includes Simon Townsend of The Who on Saturday, May 3.


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Zappolo, Adams hired to beef up 9News newscast

April 16, 2014

Is Denver ratings war leader 9News afraid of losing its longtime No. 1 ranking?

Channel 9 has hired former Fox 31 news anchor Ron Zappolo and ex-Rocky Mountain News sports columnist Sam Adams for an “experiment” in a segment of its newscast, The Denver Post reported.

Zappolo retired a year ago after five years in the anchor chair at Fox 31 and stints as a sports anchor for KCNC-Channel 4 and then 9News.

According to The Post story,  Zappolo and Adams (now a comedian who has worked for several Denver TV stations) to talk sports within the weekend newscast.

Sam Adams, above, and Ron Zappolo.

Ron Zappolo, above, and Sam Adams.

sam adams1


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Hudson Gardens announces 2014 summer concert series

The Hudson Gardens and Events Center in Littleton has announced its 2014 summer concert schedule and the musical slate includes the likes of Smokey Robinson, Chris Isaak and Boz Scaggs. Colorado favorites, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, open the concert schedule on June 1.

Exclusive presale for Hudson Gardens members only starts on Monday, April 21. You must become a member before Monday to buy presale tickets.

General public tickets go on sale on April 28. Purchase at AltitudeTickets.com.

Hudson Gardens is located at 6115 S. Santa Fe Drive in Littleton.

Check out the schedule and more details at www.hudsongardens.org/content/concerts2014.php or call 303-797-8565.


Smokey Robinson


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Want to take a tour of the D&F Tower? Now you can

Ever wonder what was behind those mysterious clock faces of the D&F Tower?

Now you can find out! The top floors of the historic downtown clocktower are now open for guests to take a 45-minute guided history tour. The tour will include many behind-the-scenes areas not open to the public.

Guests will be able to journey upstairs to see behind the mysterious clock faces, take in the breathtaking view of the city and surrounding mountains from the 20th floor Observation Deck and see the original two-story spiral staircase leading up to the bell inside the belfry while hearing many Tower Tales along the way!

Tours are Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m., are 45 minutes in length and are $15 for ages 10 & up.  For more information go to http://www.clocktowerevents.com/tours.html.


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Laugh line: Today’s eavesdropping

Eavesdropping on a conversation between two girls at Duffeyroll Cafe on South Pearl Street:

Commenting on her first online date last week, one girl said. “He emailed me afterward and asked, ‘I had a good time — what do you want to do next?’ I’m tempted to write back, ‘Go out with someone else!’”

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‘Kitchen Nightmares’ gives Pantaleone’s a makeover

Pantaleone’s Italian Restaurant endured the harangues of British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay on an episode of the Fox Network reality series, “Kitchen Nightmares,” that aired Friday.

Judging from the conclusion, the pizza and pasta place run by the Fafalios family — husband and wife, Pete and Paulette and their son, Josh – the results seem to have improved the place at 2120 S. Holly St. in south Denver.

Chef Ramsay encountered a stubborn chef owner in Pete, who maintained the claim that his pizza was Denver’s best, as the restaurant claimed on the awning of the entrance.

“I’ll put my pizza up against anybody in the country; not just Colorado, the whole country,” Pete proudly proclaimed early in the episode.

After sampling a Pantaleone sausage pizza, Ramsay differed. “This is definitely NOT the best pizza in Denver.”

One of the few customers at the restaurant when Ramsay arrived was Mark DeNittis, who works for Sysco Denver food operations and is the found and CEO at The Rocky Mountain Institute of Meat: Foundations of Meat Fabrication. When Ramsay asked DeNittis about his meatball sandwich, DeNittis replied: “I’ve had better cat food!”

Only when Ramsay did a pizza taste test at Skyline Park, did it open Pete’s eyes to just how bad his pizza was. The test featured pizza’s from an unnamed favorite Denver eatery, a store-bought frozen pizza and one of Pantaleone’s pizza. Pantaleone’s finished last in the taste test.

Ramsay took Pete and Josh to Las Vegas to try out Rao’s in Las Vegas. Rao’s started in New York started in 1896 and the four-generation is packed nightly and recently expanded to a spot in Caesars Palace in Vegas.

“Kitchen Nightmares” gave Pantaleone’s a fresh look with black-and-white painted walls and old family photos on the walls, replacing the nearly 30-year-old rave reviews of the place and a “scary” clown hologram.

In the end, the restaurant was full of diners, including a couple of beauty queens and Denver City Councilman Charlie Brown.

Ramsay didn’t convince Pete to open on Sundays, though they will open to private parties. But Pantaleone’s is finally offering delivery, when Ramsay gave them a van with the restaurant name on it.

Pete seemed happy with the experience and gave his son more say in the business.

“Chef Ramsay is a remarkable, remarkable man,” Pete said. “I am very grateful to him. I love you, you old Brit!”

Paulette added: “Chef Ramsay really inspired us.”

This Friday (at 7 p.m. on KDVR, Fox 31), “Kitchen Nightmares” goes to Arvada and The Old Neighborhood.

Co-owners Paulette and Pete thank chef Gordon Ramsay during an episode of the Fox reality series, 'Kitchen Nightmares.' (Fox network photo)

Co-owners Paulette and Pete Fafalios thank chef Gordon Ramsay during an episode of the Fox reality series, ‘Kitchen Nightmares.’ (Fox network photo)




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KBCO honors Record Store Day Saturday with first vinyl Studio C release

Radio station KBCO, 97.3 FM is honoring Record Store Day with the first release of tracks on vinyl from the live performance studio known as KBCO Studio C.

In celebration of Record Store Day on Saturday, KBCO will release two songs on a 7-inch vinyl record benefiting the Food Bank of the Rockies.  The record features “Lightning Bolt” by Jake Bugg and “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors, both recorded live in KBCO Studio C.

KBCO has hosted thousands of intimate KBCO Studio C sessions with artists and bands from around the world for more than 25 years.  A limited number of vinyl releases will be sold at two local record stores — Twist & Shout Records in Denver and Albums on the Hill in Boulder. The releases are $10 each with a limit of one per person starting at 10 a.m. Saturday at both stores.

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A few ideas for an Easter feast (and fun)

Looking for an Easter feast?

Here are just a few suggestions for this Easter Sunday:

Second Home Kitchen + Bar is hosting an Easter Sunday Pajama Brunch that will feature an a la carte menu with classic brunch dishes, bottomless mimosas, and Cherry Creek’s Best Bloody Mary Bar. The Easter bunny will lead egg hunts at 10 and 11 a.m. and noon. A family-style Easter Dinner of three courses will feature a choice of spiced honey and apricot-glazed Berkshire ham, Colorado lamb loin and Harris Ranch beef tenderloin. Second Home Kitchen and Bar is located at 150 Clayton Lane in Cherry Creek North. Call 303-253-3000 for more information or reservations.

Kachina Southwestern Grill in Westminster is serving a Wild Wild West Brunch with family-style breakfast dishes with a Southwestern twist from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Offerings include green chile deviled eggs, piñon-crusted French toast and chocolate chile beignets. Bottomless mimosas and a Bullseye Bloody Mary Bar will be available for $10. Kachina Southwestern Grill is located at 10600 Westminster Blvd. Call 303-410-5813 for more information.

The Fort, the Morrison landmark restaurant, is celebrating Easter with three amazing three-course, pre-fixe menu options. All pre-fixe entrées will be served with a Famous Fort salad to start and a slice of carrot cake with huckleberry cream cheese frosting for dessert. Call 303-697-4471 or visit www.thefort.com/Reservations.htm for reservations.

1515 restaurant will offer its unique ala carte menu or you can build your own prix-fixe menu starting at $30 for three courses.  Kids menu is just $5 for choice of mac & cheese, French toast or chicken fingers.  Adults can choose from Sous Vide NY Strip Steak & Eggs, Braised Leg of Lamb or Lobster Crepes, among others, including a fine choice of sweet treats. Details at www.1515restaurant.com.

Central Bistro & Bar in LoHi will have and all-you-can-eat Easter Brunch for $35 – add  $10 for bottomless mimosas.  For reservations, call 303-477-4582.  And, some of you may have noticed that this year Easter falls on 4/20 – leaving those who celebrate with the big decision to have Easter brunch with family or get their toke on.  Central is making that easy by throwing their second annual “Central Smokedown” porch party on 4/19.  $4.20 drink specials all day, $25 for unlimited roasted hog, sides and fix-ins or $9 for the pulled pork sandy.  Food served beginning at 2 p.m. and live music from The Mike Maurer Band from 3-7 p.m. Details at www.centralbistrobar.com.

Guard and Grace chef Troy Guard’s new downtown steak place, is serving its first Easter brunch from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and valet will be complimentary.  If weather permits, you might even be lucky enough to enjoy the food on their 70-seat patio.)

Panzano chef Elise Wiggins is going whole hog for Easter Brunch with a whole rotisserie pig featured at their roasted pork carving station.  Bottomless Bellini’s are $9 and their brunch selections are mouthwatering with an Upside-down French toast with banana, walnut and caramel sauce or if you don’t do sweet, try the Pastiche with layers of meatballs and cheese tortellini baked with ragu and cinnamon custard in a savory thyme crust.  Details at www.panzano-denver.com.

Lala’s, located at 7th and Logan in Capitol Hill, will feature brunch favorites with the additions of crab cake benedict, bacon and pecan waffles, Italian breakfast pizza, bottomless mimosas and Lala’s House infused Svedka Bloody Mary.  Hours are 9-2:30 p.m. Details at www.lalaswinebar.com.

Opus Fine Dining & Wine Bar, in Cherry Creek North, is offering a three-course meal for $45 per person for adults and $22 per person for children.  Choose from starters such as a waffle blt with spicy mayo, romaine, tomato jam, bacon or truffled rabbit sausage en croute with dijon shallot salad, frisée.  Entrées include pan roasted halibut and eggs, maple glaze, soft scrambled eggs, capers. Details at www.opusdine.com.

Trillium, in the Ballpark neighborhood, has a special Easter menu with smaller plates that include Beignets and Boompa’s Swedish Pancackes bigger plates that include a Scandinavian Cobb salad and a Croque Madame. Details at www.trilliumdenver.com.


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Gomez brainchild behind Rocky Mountain hip hop event

Some of the top music executives in the hip hop industry were in Denver on Saturday for the first Rocky Mountain Music Conference and Artist Showcase.  The brainchild behind this event is Michael Gomez.  Gomez manages local band, Top Flite Empire, has a clothing line and is a former professional basketball player who has taken his love of music to create an event where young artists can be groomed by the best in the industry.

Opus Fine Dining & Wine Bar hosted a brunch for the group Saturday morning with the likes of execs from Sirius XM, Atlantic Records, Warner Brothers and many others.

The Summit looks to expand throughout the country and be back in Denver next year.  To get more information contact Gomez at fogomanagement@gmail.com

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