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Casa Bonita earns landmark status

March 27, 2015

Casa Bonita, the 41-year-old Lakewood institution known more for its “eatertainment” than its food, has been awarded landmark status by the Lakewood Historical Society.

But Casa Bonita’s food nor its pop culture icon status didn’t earn its right as a Lakewood Historical Society Landmark, rather it was its history, architecture and community value that made it an outstanding candidate, Lakewood Historical Society member Ann Moore told The Denver Post.

“They’ve made such a great contribution to the community,” Moore told The Post. “They’re a locally grown business that employs 300 people in the summer months – for many young local kids, this is their first job.”

Manager Mike Mason started working at Casa Bonita at age 16 – nearly 40 years ago. He told The Post, “We’re not going to change the original formula. That’s what we attribute our success to.”

With the original formula intact, generations to come will be able to see the cliff divers and suck on sopapillas at the restaurant inside the strip mall at Colfax Avenue and Pierce Street. Casa Bonita owners and the new owners of the strip mall recently secured a long-term lease.

According to The Post, Broad Street Realty will be investing millions in facade and parking lot improvements at the Lamar Station Plaza as part of a wave of redevelopment along the West Colfax corridor.

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Tickets on sale for Arvada summer concert series

March 27, 2015

This summer, pack a picnic and enjoy concerts under the stars at the Arvada Center’s outdoor amphitheater. The Summer Stage Concert Series at the Arvada Center features a wide array of concerts including The Waterboys, Steep Canyon Rangers, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Toad The Wet Sprocket, Smash Mouth and Tonic, Jonny Lang, Laurie Berkner, Sweet Harmony Soul featuring Mavis Staples, Patty Griffin and Amy Helm, Los Lobos, and David Grisman Bluegrass Experience and the Jeff Austin Band.

Tickets for these concerts go on sale at 10 this morning. Concerts begin at 7:30 p.m.; gates open at 6:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

Produced in partnership with Swallow Hill Music, the 2015 Summer Stage Concert Series will also feature Wonderbound, Colorado Symphony, Colorado Ballet and the Denver Brass. Go to www.summeratthecenter.com for dates and pricing. The amphitheater has been home to live music for more than 20 years, offering wonderful acoustics, intimate covered seating (the last row is only 30 feet from the stage) and expansive lawn seating for an evening of music under the stars.

Here’s the lineup:

* The Waterboys – May 24 – $32-$52 non-member.

* Steep Canyon Rangers – June 18 – $29-$45 non-member.

* Wonderbound – June 20 – $15-$40 non-member; 2 p.m. June 21 – $15-$40 non-member.

* Big Bad Voodoo Daddy – June 27 – $32-$49 non-member.

* Jonny Lang – July 9 – $30-$49 non-member.

* Colorado Symphony – July 10 – $20-$45 non-member.

* Laurie Berkner – 4 p.m. July 11 – $25-$39 non-member.

* Sweet Harmony Soul featuring Mavis Staples, Patty Griffin and Amy Helm – July 16 – $37-$57 non-member.

* Los Lobos – July 30 – $31-$57 non-member.

* Colorado Symphony – Aug. 7 – $20-$45 non-member.

* Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra – Aug. 13 – Prices TBD.

* Colorado Ballet – Aug. 22 – $15-$29 non-member.

* Denver Brass – Aug. 29 – $12-$26 non-member.

* David Grisman Bluegrass Experience and the Jeff Austin Band – Sept. 11 – $37-$57 non member.

For complete information on all concerts including details on the groups performing, visit www.summeratthecenter.com. For directions and amphitheater policies, go to www.arvadacenter.org/visit-the-center/amphitheater-policies.


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Colorado Symphony offering free tickets to nonprofits serving families

March 27, 2015

The Colorado Symphony is offering complimentary tickets to Denver-based organizations that serve children and families. Launched in October 2014 in partnership with Denver Arts & Venues, the Community Ticketing Initiative serves diverse audiences who might not otherwise have a chance to experience live symphonic music.

Working through a network of municipal agencies and community organizations, the CTI primarily serves low-income individuals and families for whom cost is a barrier to concert attendance.

The CTI supports the City of Denver’s Imagine 2020 Cultural Plan, which seeks to broaden access to the cultural arts for all Denver residents. To date, more than 1,500 first-time individuals have redeemed vouchers through the CTI. An additional 7,824 vouchers have been distributed to organizations across metro Denver.

Organizations that serve the target population can request vouchers that can be redeemed for any concert that remains in the Colorado Symphony’s 2014/15 season. These vouchers are then distributed to individuals and families by the partner organizations. Vouchers are redeemed at the Colorado Symphony Box Office and exchanged for tickets; tickets are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis and subject to space availability.

For more information on community partners, or to request vouchers, visit www.coloradosymphony.org/communityticketing. Downloadable program materials are available in English and Spanish. For a complete list of upcoming concerts, visit www.coloradosymphony.org.

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Udi’s owners open The Good Son eatery

March 27, 2015

Lifelong local restaurateurs, chefs and master bread bakers Udi, Robin and Etai Bar-on, the founders of Udi’s Foods (now Boulder Brands), have just opened The Good Son in the former Silvi’s Kitchen space at the Lowenstein Complex, 2550 E. Colfax Ave.

The Bar-on family, owners of a catering company and 11 restaurants, artisan bakeries and cafes, including Silvi’s Kitchen, Etai’s and Braun, closed the East Colfax location of Silvi’s last November to make way for a completely new concept: a tavern emphasizing Detroit-style pizza and a thoughtfully curated craft beer, keg wine and cocktail program.

“We wanted to create a neighborhood gathering place that focused on authentic Detroit-style pizza, excellent craft beers, unique wines and a mix of classic and inventive cocktails,” said Etai, adding that Mark Stewart, the former general manager of North and Big Game, will manage the day-to-day operations.

The Good Son, which is the English translation of the French word “bonfils,” honors the history of the 550-seat theater of the same name that predated the Lowenstein Complex. “The goal was to tap into the history of the old Bonfils Theatre by designing it with a whimsical theater and performance theme,” Etai said. The space, which boasts 120 seats, including 16 at the bar plus a patio, trumpets funky cherry-red wallpaper stamped with black-and-white zebras; wooden tables and crimson-colored stools; and conversation-piece art installations from Zoe Rayor, a local multi-media artist commissioned to bedeck the quarters with pieces created for The Good Son.

Chef de cuisine Dave Axelrod, a Berkeley, Calif., native who moved to Denver in 2005 and was most recently the sous-chef of Silvi’s Kitchen in the Glendale City Set development, will turn out Detroit-style pizzas, along with appetizers, blue-plate specials (from roasted chicken to chicken and waffles) and focaccia sandwiches, all served with hand-cut fries.

The handmade pizza dough, fermented for 36 hours, oiled and oak-fired at 700 degrees in a seasoned bread pan constructed of steel, is the recipe of Maurizio Negrini, a third generation baker from Bologna, Italy, and the head bread baker of every Bar-on restaurant.

“Detroit-style pizza is renowned for its ring of caramelized mozzarella cheese, which is our pizza’s signature trait, and it’s the intersection of the super-crispy crust, the chewy, light and airy interior and delicious caramelized cheese that makes Detroit-style pizza so amazingly good,” Etai said. “The dough isn’t stretched or rolled out; it’s treated very gently with minimal hand-touching, and the result is a pizza that has a wonderful flavor and texture.”

And since pizza pairs with beer, there’s a significant emphasis on craft drafts. The bar will feature 18 beers on tap, including a kettle-brewed sour cherry beer from Denver Beer Co. and a proprietary IPA that’s a collaboration beer between The Good Son and Crazy Mountain Brewery, located in Edwards.

Hours are from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday; The Good Son is closed on Monday. Weekend brunch is slated to launch in May. For more information, visit www.thegoodsontap.com, or call 303-355-5445.

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Transplant-inspired artwork for auction at fundraiser

March 27, 2015

The Second Chance at Life transplant art event and exhibition will raise funds for the most vulnerable organ transplant patients through a private artist reception and silent auction from 6:30 to 9 p.m. April 2 at the Point Gallery in the heart of Denver’s Santa Fe Art District.

Local and national artists will showcase original artwork inspired by the miracle of transplant.

The event will feature an open bar, hors d’oeuvres, a DJ and a virtual graffiti wall. All artwork will be for sale and a portion of proceeds will go to the Foundation’s Patient Assistance Program. The exhibit is open to the general public April 3 through 16.

For tickets to the premiere party, go to www.squadup.com/events/scal.


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Laugh line: Today’s eavesdropping

March 27, 2015

Eavesdropping on two women during brunch at The ViewHouse in Centennial: “Knowledge is power.”

“That’s why I prefer to be dumb.”

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Kleinman wins ‘Restaurant Startup'; opening first restaurant

March 25, 2015

Winning season two of the CNBC competition “Restaurant Startup” last week gave creative culinarian Ian Kleinman the extra incentive he needed to open his first restaurant. Now, he’s thisclose to signing the lease on a space at 2020 Lawrence (next to Lower 48).

And when the ink is dry on the document, Kleinman plans to debut The Inventing Room ice cream shop on June 1.

The show, which much like the popular series “Shark Tank”, puts restaurateur and TV personality Joe Bastianich and chef and restaurant operator Tim Love against each other to invest their own money in food concepts they believe will make them millions.

In the series finale March 17, Love committed to help finance The Inventing Room concept.

“We did some negotiations with Tim Love who wanted to invest with us, but it didn’t work out,” Kleinman said. “We’re still going to open a store, but we’re going to do it on our own.”

Rather than gleaning financial backing from the show, Kleinman was able to work out the prototype of his restaurant – from design to color scheme to the logo – for free.

“For me, I just wanted the opportunity to build this brick and mortar restaurant I have had in my head for seven years,” he said.

Kleinman, who is best known for molecular gastronomy – a way of chemically altering the texture of food primarily with liquid nitrogen – has been perfecting his craft and wowing crowds through his catering company.

The ice cream shop will feature composed confections such as a compressed mango and strawberry kabob with salted carmel and chocolate, a carrot cake cookie ice cream sandwich with toasted marshmallow and cream cheese ice cream dipped in liquid nitrogen and a robot that will make chocolate truffles.

Oh, and you can also get a pedestrian scoop of ice cream such as Kleinman’s popular hot fudge flavor and classic vanilla bean.

“I have always opened places for other people,” he said. “This is something I’ve dreamed about for a while so I will have as much fun as I possibly can.”

Mike Coberly, who competed with Kleinman on the show, is the shop’s sous chef.

As to the “Restaurant Startup” experience, Kleinman said, “It was like going to restaurant college.”

Ian Kleinman, left, and Mike Coberlain pitch the Inventing Room to the judges. (CNBC photo)

Ian Kleinman, left, and his sous chef, Mike Coberly, pitch the Inventing Room to the judges. (CNBC photo)


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Visit Denver’s Grant leads visual tour of Denver spaces and places

March 25, 2015

Former Visit Denver spokesmodel Rich Grant, one of Denver’s favorite urbanites, will come out of retirement to take you on a visual tour of his favorite Denver spaces and places all day Friday.

Beautiful architecture? Best retail? Mouth-watering beer? Grant will expose it all. Follow @denverarchitecture and #DOD2015 on Instagram all day to explore Denver through a fun and unique lens.

The public is invited to share and interact with Grant during the Instagram takeover using the #DOD2015 hashtag on Instagram. To further explore some of Grant’s featured spots, as well as other great buildings in Denver, join Doors Open Denver on April 25 and 26.

The 11th annual Doors Open Denver, showcasing Denver architecture, takes place April 25 and 26 at its headquarters in the renovated Denver Union Station. For more information about DOD, visit www.doorsopendenver.com.


(Visit Denver photo)

(Visit Denver photo)

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