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Elitch Lanes owner not bowled over by lease loss

January 7, 2015

Elitch Lanes, the 63-year-old bowling alley at 3825 Tennyson St., will host its last bowlers on May 17 when the lease on the historic building runs out.

Business owner Cal Eichinger, who’s owned the kitschy place for 13 years and has been in the bowling biz for 40 years, said he wasn’t surprised when land owner Littleton Capital Partners declined to renew the lease.

With Denver’s land values hitting record highs, Eichinger figured that the landlord can sell the site for beau coup bucks or lease it to a tenant with deeper pockets. An e-mail and phone call to Littleton Capital Partners were not returned.

The building housing the bowling alley was built around 1900 as a trolley turn-around structure that was later converted to a coal barn, Eichinger said. It was part of the original Elitch Gardens amusement park and performing arts center location on West 38th. The Gardens moved, but the Lanes didn’t.

Eichinger said he’s been notifying the regulars little by little. “Some of the seniors are so bummed out,” he said.

But there’s a chance that Elitch Lanes will roll on in a new venue. Eichinger, who owns the name Elitch Lanes, said he’s meeting with another land owner today to discuss taking over an existing bowling alley 4.4 miles (he wouldn’t say which direction) from the existing business, which likely will take him to the ‘burbs.

“This center is so unique, I’ve never been anywhere like it,” said Eichinger who’s worked in and visited roughly 100 bowling alleys. “Our customer base is so cool — it’s a true cross-section of ages and ethnicities.”

To thank that customer base, Eichinger said he and his crew will throw a big exit bash around the May 17 closing date.

The ??-year-old Elitch Lanes in northwest Denver will close on May 17. (Elitch Lanes photos)

The 63-year-old Elitch Lanes in northwest Denver will close on May 17. (Elitch Lanes photos)elitchlanes2






owner of the 63-year-old Elitch Lanes bowling alley at 3825 Tennyson St. wasn’t totally surprised when the building’s landlord declined to renew the lease on the expensive piece of land.


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Show off the Mile High City to out-of-town football fans

January 7, 2015

Out of town friends or family traveling here for the AFC Divisional game at Sports Authority Field Sunday?

Denver welcomes Colts and Broncos fans alike with suggested hotels, dining options and sightseeing venues. The Mile High City loves out-of-towners who spend their money here and go home, but if you’re betting on the wrong horse, let there be no doubt that this is Broncos country.

Visitors coming to see the Denver Broncos face off against the Indianapolis Colts at 2:40 p.m. Sunday can also see a priceless exhibition of jewelry, dine out in a restored train station, stay at new “historic” hotels, grab brunch in the trendy LoHi, Baker, or RiNo neighborhoods, or take a walk on the Denver Beer Trail in America’s craftiest beer city.

Here is a list of stay, dine and see spaces compiled by Visit Denver, Denver’s convention and visitors bureau.


There are 44,000 hotel rooms in Denver with 9,400 rooms downtown offering easy access to Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium. Most of the downtown hotels are just a block or two from the 16th Street Mall, Denver’s mile long pedestrian walkway. Hop on a free bus to Union Station, and catch the Light Rail two stops to the football stadium. Or you can travel there by pedicab or join the parade of people who walk across two pedestrian bridges to the South Platte River and walk along a paved river trail to the stadium.

Some of Denver’s newest hotels include:

The Crawford Hotel

This historic 112-room property opened in August 2014 as the centerpiece of the newly restored 1914 Union Station and offers three styles of rooms. The Pullman rooms on the second floor are modeled after the luxury private sleeping cars of old. The Classic rooms on the third floor come with tall ceilings and large windows. The former attic area is now the Loft, featuring exposed wood timbers, vaulted ceilings and a more contemporary design. To make the most of the architectural features, most of the rooms in the hotel are one-of-a-kind designs and shapes. The hotel shares The Oxford Club Spa with the award-winning Oxford Hotel across the street.

Renaissance Denver Downtown City Center

This full-service, four-star, 221-room hotel opened in May 2014 in the restored Colorado National Bank Building, which was originally built in 1915 from the same white marble used in the Lincoln Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  The hotel incorporates many historic details from the old bank, including three vaults with 33-inch thick doors that now serve as meeting rooms. The ground floor restaurant, Range, specializes in foods of the American West with many Colorado specialties, while the lobby bar is surrounded by huge, wall-size murals painted by local artist Allen Tupper True. Considered one of Colorado’s premier native-born artists, True focused his work on Western subjects. The murals in the hotel depict the lives of American Indians on the Plains region during the 1800s.


Football fans are lucky that Denver is hosting two world exclusive art exhibitions in January and is a year-round destination for professional sports and locally crafted beer.

The Colorado Sports Hall of Fame and Tour at Sports Authority Field at Mile High

If you arrive a day or two early for the game, make sure to take some time to visit Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The stadium is home to the free Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, which highlights the achievements of the great athletes who have played for the Broncos, Nuggets, Rockies, Avalanche and others. You can also get a behind the scenes look at this state-of-the-art football stadium on a 90-minute guided tour (offered every hour from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Denver Beer Trail

The Mile High City brews more beer than any other city.  From the world’s largest single brewing site, Coors Brewery in nearby Golden, to small tasting rooms with only a dozen chairs, Denver has more than three dozen breweries in and near downtown and more than 100 in the metro area.  In 2013 and 2014, metro Denver opened a new brewery on average every other week. There are several beer tour companies set up that will drive you to several of the coolest – and tastiest – breweries near downtown Denver. Or, go out and explore on your own with some guidance from the Denver Beer Trail.

Mark Mothersbaugh: Myopia at Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (MCA), through April 14.

Organized by MCA Denver, this retrospective exhibition brings together the first comprehensive presentation of Mark Mothersbaugh’s art and music to date, from the beginning of his career in the early 1970s through the present. Though well known around the globe as a founding member of the popular band Devo, Mothersbaugh has been a prolific artist since before the band’s inception.

Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century at the Denver Art Museum, through March 15.

This worldwide-exclusive exhibition at the Denver Art Museum includes an astonishing assortment of jewelry, timepieces and precious objects from the Cartier collection. Many of the pieces in the exhibition were owned by aristocrats, celebrities and royalty, including Princess Grace, Elizabeth Taylor, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, J.P. Morgan and the Aga Khan, among other luminaries.


Before the game, explore some of Denver’s trendy neighborhoods, all of them accessible from downtown.

Denver Union Station

Denver’s historid Beaux Arts 1914 train terminal reopened with 10 new restaurants and bars in July 2014, as well as a selection of fine retailers including a branch of the popular Tattered Cover Bookstore. Local powerhouse chef Jen Jasinski (winner of the 2013 James Beard Award for Best Chef Southwest) has opened Stoic & Genuine, a seafood-centric restaurant in the tradition of Grand Central Station’s Oyster Bar, while Alex Seidel (Food & Wine’s Top New Chef of the Year 2010) has opened Mercantile, featuring locally sourced, farm-to-table items from his sheep farm located in nearby Larkspur. For larger groups, The Kitchen Next Door offers community-style seating and casual atmosphere. Step up to the Terminal Bar, situated in the station’s old ticket windows, to order one of 30 Colorado beers on tap, or relax in the Cooper Lounge overlooking the station’s grand hall.

Lower Highlands (LoHi)

Connected to downtown by three pedestrian bridges, LoHi has become one of Denver’s most popular dining destinations. Linger is housed in an old mortuary and was selected by Travel + Leisure for having one of “America’s coolest rooftop bars.”  Sister restaurant Root Down has a menu dedicated to locally sourced foods, while Ale House at Amato’s has 45 local beers on tap, outdoor fireplaces and an expansive city view. The walls of Denver Beer Company literally “roll up” (it was once an auto repair shop) and the outdoor beer garden has picnic tables and food trucks. Nearby, Prost Brewing has copper kettles from Germany and a delicious selection of sausages. Colt & Gray, Old Major and Duo are local neighborhood favorites, while My Brother’s Bar is a Denver institution, once frequented by beat generation legends Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassidy.

River North (RiNo)

RiNo is a former industrial neighborhood that is exploding with art galleries, restaurants, breweries, distilleries, and even a winery (with the grapes supplied from the Western Slope of Colorado). Swing by The Source, an old brick manufacturing plant that now houses a bakery, butcher, florist, the acclaimed Acorn restaurant, street tacos at Comida, Crooked Stave brewery known for their wide variety of sour beers and several shops. Work & Class, Populist, the Butcher Block, and Amerigo Delicatus are just some of the new restaurants gaining national attention. Down the block, Infinite Monkey Theorem Winery is building a name for its canned sparkling wines, while Epic, River North, Black Shirt and Our Mutual Friend are just some of Denver’s breweries located in this area.

South Broadway and Baker

Yet another hip neighborhood with new eateries, bars and nightspots is just one mile south of downtown along South Broadway. Check out the rooftop decks of the Historian Ale House or the Irish Rover, stop by for palm trees and umbrella drinks at Adrift Tiki Bar, or play a game of bowling, darts or shuffleboard at the massive 20,000 square foot Punch Bowl Social. From fine dining at Beatrice & Woodsley to homemade Sweet Action Ice Cream, Baker has a Brooklynesque feel with pizza shops next to bookstores on a street lined with one-of-kind clothing shops, galleries, original home furnishings and music clubs.

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Walnut Room turns 10 with a party Friday

January 7, 2015

The Walnut Room, RiNo’s music venue and pizza place at 3131 Walnut St., is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a hearty party from 5 to 11 p.m. Friday with drink specials, complimentary appetizers and pizza and free performances by Adrienne O, Andy Palmer, Roo & The Howl, Matt Hoffman of Strange Americans and DJ Social Lubrication. The event is for guests 21 and over.

For years, musician and entrepreneur John Burr dreamed about creating a place where fellow musicians could relax after rehearsing at his RiNo sound studio. He envisioned a venue that hosted live music and served the thin-crust pizza from his childhood. In January 2005, Burr’s dream became a reality and The Walnut Room was born.

A decade later, The Walnut Room has become one of the premier venues for local bands to play and a popular dining spot for its palate-pleasing pies. In addition to hosting some of the city’s top bands, The Walnut Room has featured such established acts as Chris Isaak, Jewel and The Fray.

“The Walnut Room’s anniversary is really a significant milestone. We are proud to have survived a decade in an emerging neighborhood and grateful to have carved an identity for ourselves that has resonated with the public,” Burr said.

Burr plans to build on The Walnut Room’s reputation for hosting some of the city’s best live performances with an expanded kitchen which will allow the venue’s menu to grow this year.

Since opening the original Walnut Room location at 3131 Walnut St., Burr has expanded his pizzeria business to include a second outpost on South Broadway.

For more information, go to www.thewalnutroom.com/walnut-street/.

(Walnut Room photos)

(Walnut Room photos)Walnut Room menu items

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What a blast!

January 5, 2015

More than 100,000 spectators braved the cold temperatures to ring in the new year on the 16th Street Mall during the 13th Annual New Year’s Eve Fireworks Downtown. Two eight-minute shows with nearly 15,000 blasts exploded across the Denver sky in a myriad breathtaking and dramatic methods. With a 40-second finale, the hits rumbled Denver into the new year.

DJs along the 16th Street Mall and festivities at the Southwest Rink at Skyline Park ramped up the energy between shows as people celebrated throughout the city center.

“The New Year’s Eve Fireworks provided the perfect atmosphere for the Denver community to come together and celebrate a fruitful 2014,” said Tami Door, CEO and president of the Downtown Denver Partnership. “With hundreds of thousands of individuals enjoying downtown restaurants, retail establishments and hotels, the celebrations continued throughout the night and helped drive our local businesses into the new year.”

The fireworks shows at 9 p.m. and midnight were created and managed by Western Enterprises, Inc. Launched simultaneously from two undisclosed locations downtown, the shows were fired using pyro seeking, the industry’s most advanced in digital firing technology, and SMPTE time code signal for synchronization with the music from the DJs. Nearly 600 cues were fired per show, and approximately 2,400 cues were fired overall.

The New Year’s Eve Fireworks Downtown were presented by the Downtown Denver Partnership and co-sponsored by Visit Denver and the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District.

(Larry Laszlo photo, CoMedia)

(Larry Laszlo photo, CoMedia)


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Denver a top 10 destination for millennials

January 5, 2015

Millennials, the darlings of marketers at ages 35 and under, are desirable residents as young professionals, lifestyle fanatics and first-time homeowners.

Analysts at the news site Vocativ set out to determine the best U.S. cities for people 35 and under starting with the 100 most populous cities in the U.S., as reported by The Huffington Post.

“Then, they rated each one on their own personal measures of food, jobs, nightlife and more. A city’s entertainment score, for example, was determined by the price of an average movie ticket, the number of local music festivals, and the number of pro sports teams in the area. Others included:

  • Night out: the average cost of beer, wings and (gasp!) weed.
  • Housing: monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment, the cost of Internet and price of cleaning services.
  • Getting around: percentage of population using public transit, the average price of gas, cost of a five-mile cab ride.
  • Jobs: the median salary, unemployment and job growth rates.
  • Food: the cost of groceries and number of coffee shops and take-out restaurants per 100,000 people.
  • Appeal: number of sunny days per year, walkability, amount of violent crime.
  • Demographics: the median age, ethnic diversity, amount of singles, percentage of LGBT individuals.”

The study resulted in “35 ultra-livable cities” – including Denver at No. 4 – where millennials are bound to find a great home. Here are the top 10:

Here are the top 10:

1. New York, NY.

2. Arlington, Texas.

3. San Francisco, Calif.

4. Denver (ranked high in food and entertainment).

5. Austin, Texas.

6. Minneapolis, Minn.

7. Seattle, Wash.

8. St. Paul, Minn.

9. Madison, Wis.

10. Portland, Ore.

For the rest of the story, go to www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/29/best-cities-for-millennia_n_6374304.html.

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Twelve eateries that closed in 2014

January 5, 2015

While I much prefer to write about restaurant openings in our fair city, inevitably there are those that close. Some are big losses to our Mile High palate, others were more obviously headed for an epic fail.

Thrillist.com, the irreverent food and drink website, has compiled a list of the “12 shuttered Denver bars and restaurants that we’ll miss.” They are: Bonanno Bros. Pizzeria in the Vistas at Park Meadows, Catacombs Bar in Boulder, Corner House Neighborhood Eatery in Jefferson Park, Chef Liu’s Authentic Chinese Cuisine in Aurora, Le Grande Bistro & Oyster Bar downtown, Ondo’s Spanish Tapas Bar in Cherry Creek, Oshima Ramen in Southeast Denver, Row 14 Bistro & Wine Bar downtown, Restaurant Kevin Taylor downtown, twelve restaurant in ballpark, TAG Raw Bar Larimer Square, T-Wa Inn Southwest Denver.

Read more about each closure at www.thrillist.com/eat/denver/denver-bars-and-restaurants-that-closed.


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NPR gives national nod to Denver’s restaurant scene

December 17, 2014

One of the nicest nods to Denver’s bustling restaurant scene came from Tuesday’s piece by National Public Radio. The reporter sought the answer to the popular question “What makes Denver so tasty?” when it comes to the dining business, which has doubled in sales over the past 10 years.

He interviewed Food Network star chef Keegan Gerhard, who rolled the proverbial dice on Denver when he opted to open D Bar, the tiny 17th Street eatery with the longest lines. Gerhard and his pastry chef wife, Lisa Bailey, quickly outgrew the original D Bar space and last month opened a spot three times larger in Uptown. The couple shunned the bright lights and big cities in favor of building a business where they wanted to live.

NPR interviewed other top chefs including Jennifer Jasinski, who with business partner Beth Gruitch, owns Rioja, Bistro Vendome, Euclid Hall, and most recently Stoic & Genuine in the redeveloped Union Station. Jasinski upped Denver’s restaurant cred by winning a James Beard Award and competing on “Top Chef Masters”.

Here’s what NPR said, “When you think of the restaurant scene, Denver probably doesn’t come to mind. But that’s just the latest change for a city whose population has ballooned in the last couple of years, thanks in part to a nearby oil and gas boom. Top chefs are beginning to take notice.”

John Imbergamo, perhaps the most trusted man in Denver’s restaurant business, was interviewed for the story on background. Here’s what NPR didn’t discuss, Imbergamo said. “The fast casual segment was ignored but Denver is a hotbed of innovation in that segment of the industry. Chipotle, Qdoba, Tokyo Joes, Noodles, Garbanzos, Pizzeria Locale. Smashburger, the list goes on.  Many of these with elevated quick food are consumer stepping stones to fine dining.”

To read or listen to the rest of the report, go to www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/12/16/371126181/top-chefs-discover-denvers-fast-growing-restaurant-scene?utm_campaign=storyshare&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social.

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All the single ladies, all the single ladies, look no further than Denver for dudes

December 15, 2014

Denver is ranked No. 8 in the list of The 15 Top Cities for Single Women, according to DatingAdvice.com, and there’s no mention of our marijuana legislation for attracting single guys.

Rather, the website took into account “…population data of major U.S. cities, including the total numbers, the percentage of men, the percentage of women, the amount of single men, the amount of single women, the unemployment rate, the amount of people who have college degrees and more.

“In these 15 cities, it’s practically raining men. While we can’t guarantee they’re all angels, these are great places to start your search for a good man or two.”

Denver, at No. 8, scores with 112,038 single men, the web survey says.

“Denver has comparable cultural and food scenes to those in other big cities, but they (sic) add their (sic) own twist with abundant nature, chill vibes and lots of eligible dudes. You’ll find this city is full of adventures right in your own backyard!

“The ease and low cost of living make Mile High City one of the top places to call home and find love.”

For the rest of the rankings, go to www.datingadvice.com/for-women/the-15-top-cities-for-single-women.

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How does your garden grow? City approves home sales of bumper crops

July 21, 2014

The City of Denver could become one big farmer’s market after the City Council recently approved a law that allows Denver residents to sell from their homes fresh produce they have grown themselves and cottage foods such as jams and honey they have made in their home kitchens.

“Denver has always been known as a city that appreciates ‘farm-to-table’ and using fresh produce and locally sourced foods, but this new law creates a whole new level of urban farming that will allow the city to become one big farmer’s market,” said Richard Scharf, president and CEO of Visit Denver.

Under the new law, which takes effect today (Friday), Denver residents will have to purchase a permit, but then will be able to sell from their home raw and uncut fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs that were grown by the seller either on site or in a community garden.

They will also be able to sell whole eggs produced by chickens or ducks kept by the seller at home, or “cottage foods,” which are low-risk, unrefrigerated food products made on-site such as spices, teas, honey, jams and certain baked goods. People can sell from inside or outside their home from 8 a.m. to dusk and can sell up to $5,000 of goods a year.

“Denver has become a leader in urban farming,” Scharf said, noting that two years ago the Colorado Convention Center opened the Blue Bear Farm on the grounds of the Convention Center and is now growing 5,000 pounds of fresh fruits, vegetables and spices used in the convention center’s kitchens.  “Many city restaurants have already put in their own gardens and farms, and now they will be able to buy vegetables, eggs, jams, and fruits grown right in the neighborhood.”

For more information, including how to secure a permit, a list of permissible cottage foods and tips for your home garden, visit www.denvergov.org/homebusiness. The sale of marijuana or marijuana-infused products is not allowed.

Additional resources are also available at the Colorado State University Denver Extension Office, which provides resources on soil testing as well as classes on urban farming, cottage foods and food safety. Visit www.denverext.colostate.edu for more information.

For more activities in Denver go to www.visitdenver.com.


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