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Penny Parker On The Town: Commercial real estate market heating up around town

August 30, 2013

It’s not often (or ever) that I get invited to two ground-breaking events in one day.

But on Wednesday I found myself at 250 Columbine in Cherry Creek North where representatives from Western Development Group (headed by Phil’s son Christian Anschutz) and Denver dignitaries followed by a preview party for Washington Park Station, which recently broke ground at Louisiana Avenue and Washington Street adjacent to the light-rail station.

The two construction projects are very different: 250 Columbine is a mixed-use development with retail, residential and office spaces, and Washington Park Station is a five-story apartment building from Zakhem brothers John and Mike along with former hockey super turned star investor Peter Forsberg and Taco Bell franchisee Rob Alvarado.

Both projects, however, indicate a healthy economic recovery for Denver’s commercial real estate sector.

250 Columbine will encompass an 80,000-square-foot office building (ready for tenant improvements in the late fourth quarter of 2014), 70 condominium residences (ready for occupation late first quarter of 2015) and roughly 30,000 square feet of retail space all over two levels of underground parking.

Denver-based PCL Construction is the general contractor for the project, and OZ Architecture, also of Denver, is the architect.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock waxed nostalgic about his formative  years spent late-night at Village Inn, which has been reduced to a pile of scrap metal.

“Christian and I grew up in this great city,” Hancock said. “(Village Inn)  is the place where we came to sober up before we went home to our parents. We came to soak up the ‘water’ we drank with pancakes.”

David Steel, a partner in Western Development, took advantage of the mayor’s and four city council members’ presence to plead his case for angled parking along that block, which has yet to gain Council approval.

“It’s very cagey to invite the mayor and four City Council people then announce you need city approval for angled parking,” teased Jeanne Robb, City Councilwoman whose District 10 includes Cherry Creek North.

Across town at Hanson’s Grill & Tavern in the South Pearl neighborhood, Zakhem and Zakhem, brothers and business partners, hosted a celebration of the start of construction on the five-story 32-unit apartment building with 2,800 square feet of retail space.

The brothers bought the land six years ago, but more recently acquired the key corner spot that completed the plot.

“The zoning allows for mixed use and due to it being so close to the light rail station, we thought a for-rent product would be an ideal fit for this wonderful neighborhood,” John said. Rent will vary from $1,100 for a one-bedroom to $2,000 for a two-bedroom unit. “We have incorporated some great design features, including garage doors in the living spaces that will allow the units to have an indoor/outdoor feel and spaciousness.”

For more information on 250 Columbine visit www.250columbine.com; for Washington Park Station, call 303-532-5511.

Marvelous Mayes

Denver-based Curious Cork, importer of Tuscan Sun Wines, is bringing in bestselling author, cook and designer Frances Mayes for an evening that includes a four-course dinner and wine tasting beginning at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 11 at Pizza Republica in the Colorado Convention Center, 890 14th St.

Mayes, author of the romantic “Under the Tuscan Sun” and “Bella Tuscany” draws on her long connection to Cortona, Italy, in Tuscany and her friendships with noted winemakers throughout the country.

Guests will enjoy the dinner paired with the six Tuscan Sun blends, and get to meet Mayes. The evening begins with cocktails, bruschetta, pizza and misto bars.

The four-course dinner features poached pear salad; pesto, porcini and parmesan pasta; osso bucco with herb polenta, olive oil poached tomato, Milanese sauce and rosemary and cantucci with vin santo semi fredo or ice cream with spun sugar.

The Tattered Cover Book Store will be on hand to sell all of Mayes’ books including her recent cookbook “The Tuscan Sun Cookbook.” Mayes will also be signing books.

Tickets for the event are $110, and can be purchased at https://www.blacktie-colorado.com.


The fourth edition of Penny Parker Presents The Fourth Evening of Decadent Delights on Sept. 30 will take your taste buds on a culinary adventure while supporting Sense of Security, the Colorado nonprofit that covers non medical expenses for breast cancer patients (www.senseofsecurity.org).

The enchanting evening begins at 6 p.m. at Balistreri Vineyards (66th and Washington) with a cocktail party sponsored by Downslope Distilling followed by a multi-course dinner at 7. Some of Denver’s finest chefs who will blow your culinary mind are: Troy Guard (TAG, TAG Raw Bar, TAG Burger Bar), Tyler Wiard (culinary director for Elway’s restaurants), Michael Bortz (City Bakery), Alex Seidel (Fruition), Brian Laird (Sarto’s), Sean Yontz (formerly with El Diablo) and Lance Barto (The Social).

Robert Eldridge is back for the fourth year performing acoustic guitar during dinner. Emcee Les Shapiro is sure to get the party rolling and pump up the live auction.

Tickets are limited and available at www.blacktie-colorado.com. Enter event code SOS930.

Our friends at Uber are providing $40 off one ride for new users. To claim your discounted ride, sign up for an Uber account by downloading the app to your iPhone or Android and enter the code DDELIGHTS under “promotions” or sign up at www.uber.com/go/ddelights.

For more information, contact event manager Trisha Lindeman at 720-985-6947 or at trilind@hotmail.com.

Seasonal cessation

The summer dining season of the Highland’s Garden Café, 3297 W. 32nd Ave., will close on Saturday following the restaurant’s traditional seasonal schedule.

Chef/owner Patricia Perry, who opened the Café in 1994, said, “We have had a wonderful summer season and I ‘d like to thank everyone who made this happen, especially our hard-working staff and amazing guests.”

The Café will reopen in April for guests to enjoy the spring tulips forsythia, lilacs and roses that have drawn diners to Highland’s Garden Café for nearly two decades.

If you’d like to be added to the mailing list, contact Perry at patperrychef@comcast.net.

Subscription drive

Do you know folks who aren’t subscribing to my Blacktie-Colorado column? Say what?

How ’bout if we give them some incentive to sign up. On Wednesday, one lucky subscriber will win two VIP tickets to Denver Food and Wine, the most fun you can have under a tent, from 11 a.m. (VIPs get early admission) till 4 p.m. Sept. 7 on the grounds of the Metropolitan State University of Denver campus.

Here’s the catch: To be eligible to win the tickets, you MUST be a subscriber. On Wednesday, Blacktie’s accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCooper (see, just like the Academy Awards … hee hee), will draw the name of the winner, who will be notified and announced in my Sept. 6 column.

To subscribe, go to www.blacktie-colorado.com/pennyparker. Click on my icon, then click on “subscribe.” VIPs at Denver Food and Wine get a respite from the heat with umbrella-clad tables, fancy fare from The Brown Palace and fine wines in a private area. Ticket value: $250.

The seen

Actor Kurt Russell and a group taste-testing his GoGi wine line at Elway’s Cherry Creek on Wednesday. He’s named the Chardonnay “Goldie” after forever girlfriend Goldie Hawn.

The Viognier is called LuLu after his mom. And the Pinot Noir is called Bosty Boy in honor or his son, Boston. Read more about GoGi wines at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kurt-Russell-Wines-Gogi/202104946484539.

Meanwhile in downtown Denver, former Doobie Brother Michael McDonald, in town Wednesday for a Denver Botanic Gardens concert with local vocal Hazel Miller, was spotted sipping cocktails in the bar at Panzano inside the Hotel Monaco.

Kurt Russell dips the signature wax top on one of the bottle to his pinot.

Kurt Russell dips the signature wax to one of the bottles of his GoGi wines, a Pinot Noir, Bosty Boy named after his son, Boston. The wine’s name, Gogi, is Russell’s nickname.


Eavesdropping on a man at the 250 Columbine ground breaking ceremony: “Another parking lot disappears.”

Did you hear that I have a new column, “Mile High Life,” in Colorado Community Media’s 17 weekly newspapers circling Denver? Be sure to like my Facebook page! Also, here’s where you go to get my column emailed to you Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. My email: penny@blacktie-llc.com. Want to advertise your business here? Contact Trisha at trilind@hotmail.com.

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Penny Parker On The Town: Chef Gordon Ramsay is keeping it real in Denver

Gordon Ramsay, the chef who puts the terror into every restaurant owner, returns for a sixth season as he treks across the  country to help struggling restaurants keep their businesses above water (and in some cases cockroaches, rats, etc).

When all seems to be in desperate despair, the restaurant owners turn to Ramsay and his team for one last hope before having to shut their doors. Many of these restaurants are beyond repair, leaving Ramsay to  face a nearly impossible task. Some will close their doors, others will  get back on their feet, but all are calling on Chef Ramsay to wake them  up from their “Kitchen Nightmares,” airing at 7 p.m. Mondays on Fox-31.

You’ll have chances to view local operations when Ramsay’s “Kitchen Nightmares” makes two stops in the Denver metro area this month. The kitchen commander will visit Pantaleone’s on Friday, and Old Neighborhood in Arvada Saturday through Tuesday. Be afraid, be very afraid!

The Old Neighborhood has been an Arvada institution since 1980, serving a diverse menu of American, Mexican, Italian, French, Asian and even Cajun-inspired foods. Owners Alexa and Randy Kowalczyk are sure to be in for a test from Ramsay when it comes to Old Neighborhood’s gigantic menu.

Pantaleone’s is a pizza and pasta restaurant at 2120 South Holly in south Denver. Mr. On The Town and I visited Panteleone’s 10 years ago or so for a story he was writing on Denver’s best pizza and we left unimpressed. Still, many have raved about the pizza and pasta place owned by Pete and Paulette Fafalios.

Best of luck to both restaurants!

Owners of Arvada's the Old Neighborhood restaurant, Randy and Alexa Kowalczyk, will get a visit from chef Gordon Ramsay for his Fox network reality series, "Kitchen Nightmares." (Photo courtesy of oldneighborhoodrestaurant.net)

Owners of Arvada’s the Old Neighborhood restaurant, Randy and Alexa Kowalczyk, will get a visit from chef Gordon Ramsay for his Fox network reality series, “Kitchen Nightmares.” (Photo courtesy of oldneighborhoodrestaurant.net)


American Ninja

Am I the only weirdo who watched “American Ninja” on 9News on Monday? Why? Because they filmed the segment in Denver a few blocks from my condo, but I knew nothing about it.

The host is Matt Iseman, a Denver native. Iseman even talked about how happy he was to be back in his hometown during the show. The show is entertaining in the fact that it’s fiercely competitive while these folks compete in crazy stunts that defy all odds of gravity.

The show is continuing at 7 p.m. Mondays. Rich Grant, the spokesmodel for Visit Denver, told me that the crew filmed all through the night roughly five weeks ago.

The show was shot in Civic Center Park and really highlights downtown Denver in the dark.

One the tryout episodes for NBC's reality series, "American Ninjas," was shot in Denver's Civic Center Park. (Stevie Crecilius photo)

One the tryout episodes for NBC’s reality series, “American Ninjas,” was shot in Denver’s Civic Center Park. (Stevie Crecilius photo)


Wicket and stick It

Denver’s premier croquet tournament returns to Cherry Creek on Aug. 2 when 60 teams compete on the outdoor plaza behind Elway’s restaurant.

Up for grabs is the Wicket and Stick It silver cup or in the individual categories which include best dressed, best hat and best wicket shot.

Professional croquet master Ron Eccles and his team of croquet referees will be on hand to provide instruction and insider tips. Prized categories include top three teams, best dressed team, best dressed male and female, best hat male and female and best wicket shot.

Players and spectators receive drink and food tickets for a variety of beverages to enjoy as well as morsels from restaurants including Brio Tuscan Grille, Opus Restaurant & Aria Wine Bar, California Pizza Kitchen, Kona Grill, Patxi’s and a goody bag.

Tournament time is from 2 to 9 p.m. Aug. 2 at 2500 E. First Ave. General admission is $35 in advance or $40 at the door, which includes two drink tickets and a goody bag.

VIP spectator tickets are $60 in advance or $70 at the door. The ticket includes unlimited drinks, VIP check-in, exclusive seating, personal beverage service and a goody bag.

To reserve tickets, go to http://ezregister.com/events/7380/.

This just in from EaterDenver

TAG Burger Bar is in the planning stages of a second location in northwest Denver, bordering the Highland neighborhood. The casual burger joint led by chef Troy Guard now operates in Congress Park at 12th and Madison. A second location is planned in the former Subway Tavern & Pizzeria Longo’s space  at 38th and Lipan (3759 Lipan Street).

The Larimer Associates, which owns TAG Burger Bar, acquired the family-owned restaurant in September when Longo’s closed its doors after 52 years in business. A massive remodel is planned for the 3,000 square foot space starting early September. Considering the age of the restaurant and lack of upgrades in recent years, Larimer Associates decided to gut it and start over with a remodel project that will likely take six months.

Eavesdropping on a group riding in rush-hour traffic in south Denver: “That guy is driving awful fast. Wonder what’s his hurry?”

“He probably wants to get home in time to watch ‘Jeopardy.’ ”

Did you hear that I have a new column, “Mile High Life,” in Colorado Community Media’s 17 weekly newspapers circling Denver? Be sure to like my Facebook page! Also, here’s where you go to get my column emailed to you Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I’m now the social-media liaison for the Mile High Chapter of the Colorado Restaurant Association, so read my latest restaurant news there. My email: penny@blacktie-llc.com.

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Penny Parker’s On The Town: Hearty summer parties coming up

June 15, 2012

The 8th Annual Denver Food and Wine event is the party of the summer to benefit the Colorado Restaurant Association. It runs from Sept. 6-9 at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Here’s the drill:

* Thursday, Sept. 6, features a special wine dinner at Metro’s new Hospitality Learning Center.  Seating is limited to 34 people, and the dinner features wines and a “special guest” by Southern Wine and Spirits.  Evening will include cocktails and appetizers, tour of new venue, dinner by Denver chefs.

* Friday, Sept. 7, includes an industry/trade breakfast sponsored by the Colorado Hotel Lodging Association and Colorado Restaurant Association with speakers from the CH&LA and CRA.  The location will be the ballroom of the new Springfield Suites by Marriott. There’ll also be demos and seminars in the new Hospitality Learning Center as well as Riedel glass seminars. During the evening will be Restaurants Rock in the Springfield Suites and HLC Tastes, featuring live entertainment, tastes from Denver restaurants and spirits and wines from Southern Wine and Spirits.

* Saturday, Sept. 8, will be a “grand tasting” for the general public set up under tents in the quadrangle at 7th & Lawrence Way. It will feature tastes of more than 600 wines and spirits and food from over 40 restaurants. There’ll be a Tented VIP Plaza, a Pernod Ricard Lounge, a Beam Global Lounge, a Viking Culinary Stage with confirmed guest Chef Dario Cecchini, the Butcher of Panzano.

* Sunday, Sept. 9, there’s a special dinner at Panzano with Dario and Demo. The Denver Broncos play the Pittsburgh Steelers at 6:30 p.m.

A total of 5,000 people are expected for all the events.

Media sponsors are Entercom Radio Stations – KOSI, air jordan 4.5 femmes The Mountain, ALICE, KEZW; The Denver Post; 9News; Dining Out Magazine; Larimer Associates; Visit Denver; and The Denver Partnership. Beneficiaries are the Denver Post Community Foundation, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Colorado Restaurant Association Education Foundation scholarship program.

More information:  www.denverfoodandwine.com

Hot Rocks rocks!

I have been an unabashed fan of John Elway’s since I moved to Denver in 1993. I never take a close encounter with him for granted. So last night at the Hot Rocks Griller Challenge was special because I got to sidle up to the NFL Hall of Famer and have my picture snapped. It never gets old.

Thanks, John. I adore you and will always be proud to call you a friend. You rock my world!

Muy caliente!

Hot Rocks Griller Challenge pitted super chefs against each other in heated competition to raise money for Denver Health Medical Center Men’s Health Department.

There were two competitions for Best Slider. People’s Choice winners were:

1. Tyler Wiard, Aniedra Nichols of Elway’s Cherry Creek

2. Troy Guard, TAG, TAG Raw Bar and Madison Street Grill

3. Simon Purvis, EDGE Restaurant

In the Chefs’ Choice competition:

A tie between Troy Guard and Paul Reilly of Encore.

Eavesdropping on a woman in a Suburban who backed into a Toyota Prius and then became defiant with the owner of the Prius about the accident:  She claimed that the accident wasn’t her fault because she was on her phone, backing up and the Prius was so small she couldn’t see it.

At that point the Arapahoe County sheriff said to her, “How are you going to air jordan 5 femmes xplain to your insurance company that it wasn’t your fault when the vehicle you hit was parked and there was no driver in it?”

The woman had nothing more to say.

Be sure to like my Facebook page! Also, here’s where you go to get my column emailed to you Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I’m now the social-media liaison for the Mile High Chapter of the Colorado Restaurant Association, so read my latest restaurant news there. My email: penny@blacktie-llc.com.

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Penny Parker’s On The Town: Elephant waltzes into downtown Denver

Hey, there’s an elephant on my street; how he got there I’ll never know.

If you’re in the vicinity of Curtis and 18th streets on Saturday, don’t be surprised to see an elephant lumbering toward The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Denver.

The elephant entry signifies the third and final air jordan spizike wedding ceremony between an East Indian doctor and his American wife. Three ceremonies are planned with the last being an Indian tradition of having the bride arrive at the reception location aboard an elephant being trucked in from California for the occasion.

I’ve been told that there will be street closures and off-duty police officers along the route. “I understand they’ve taken out tons of (city) permits,” said a source. Representatives from the mayor’s office could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

Get your grill on

It’ll be a hot time in the old town when a slew of chefs fire up their grills and serve up sliders during the fourth annual Hot Rocks Griller Challenge, a fundraiser for the Denver Health Foundation’s men’s health programs, from 6 to 9 p.m. June 13 at Elway’s Cherry Creek.

Roughly 16 of the top local chefs will get their grill on to compete for top honors in the slider competition where the winner is determined by popular vote. Attendees can purchase chips (votes) from $5 to $100, and flip chips into the receptacles on their favorite chefs’ tables. Each chef will concoct a creative slider plus a side dish that will be paired with a wine.

The heated competition represents some of Denver’s best culinary talent including: Steve Ballas (Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs), Robert Bogart (Elway’s Downtown), Michael Bortz (City Bakery), Jamey Fader (Lola, Big Red F Restaurant Group), Troy Guard (TAG, TAG Raw Bar, Madison Grill), Jennifer Jasinski (Rioja, Bistro Vendome, Euclid Hall), Simon Purvis (EDGE Restaurant), Paul Reilly (formerly of Encore), Matt Selby and Brandon Biederman (Vesta Dipping Grill, Steuben’s), Goose Sorensen (Solera), Darrel Truett (Barolo Grill), Tyler Wiard and Aniedra Nichols (Elway’s Cherry Creek), Elise Wiggins (Panzano) and Sean Yontz (El Diablo).

Denver’s own Chris Daniels and the Kings will provide musical entertainment. Guests can also “pay to play” the Hyde Park Jewelers High Striker test of skills game. Event chairs Michael Pollak (Hyde Park) and John Elway (Broncos, Hall of Fame) will fan the fun.

Tickets are $100 apiece or $250 for early admission and entrance to the VIP Lounge. Purchase them at denverhealthfoundation.org.

In memoriam

Hank Dire, owner of the iconic Bonnie Brae Tavern, died Monday at age 84. Hank had worked at the family restaurant since he was 5 years old.

Most Precious Blood Catholic Church, 3959 E. Iliff Ave., will be the location for a memorial service at 10 a.m. Monday.

Another long-time Colorado restaurateur Timothy Lee Galloway died last November, but the current issue of  issue of Golf Digest tells the touching story of how his son, Winn, took his dad for a round of golf at Pebble Beach where Tim scored a hole in one.

Tim worked at Boulder restaurants including Flagstaff House, adidas neo Red Lion Inn, Potter’s, the restaurants at the Boulderado Hotel and Cork n’ Cleaver.

Check out the Golf Digest story (have your hanky nearby) here.

Dad’s day

Four local men may be captains of industry and pillars in the community, but they are most proud of being a dad.

Walt DeHaven, vice president and general manager of CBS4; Steve Erkenbrack, president and CEO of Rocky Mountain Health Plans; Greg Feasel, executive vice president and COO of the Colorado Rockies and Jeff Jones, co-president and CFO of Vail Resorts, were lauded Wednesday night during the Father of the Year Awards, a fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association.

The ballroom at the Grand Hyatt was packed with supporters who were treated to touching video tributes from children of the honored fathers.

Evening emcee CBS4 anchor Jim Benemann warmed up the crowd with some of his own “dad-isms”.

“I remember my dad fondly for the things he taught me such as, ‘Oh, I’ll give you something to cry about.’ Or, ‘Because I said so, that’s why.'”

Speaking of dear old dad

Are you tardy to the dad’s day party? There’s still time to make Father’s Day brunch or dinner reservations. Go to opentable.com to see a list of special Father’s Day feasts.

Eavesdropping on a man watching The View: “They should just call this,’ We All Talk at the Same Time.'”

Be sure to like my Facebook page! Also, here’s where you go to get my column emailed to you Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I’m now the social-media liaison for the Mile High Chapter of the Colorado Restaurant Association, so read my latest restaurant news there. My email: penny@blacktie-llc.com.

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Penny Parker’s On The Town: Meet the chief

Denver Police Department Chief Robert White will be on the hot seat from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Saturday during a live tweeting event at Coffee on the Point, 710 E. 26th Ave.

The hashtag is #ASKDPD if you have questions to send Chief White. free run 4.0 v2 The format will be a casual Q&A with about 8 to 10 people. Just a thought, but I would ask him how he’s going to implement the “no sleeping on the streets” policy. Tough duty.

Traffic twist

CBS 4 Denver has been a’ changing in its morning news team. Management elected not to keep Jane Monreal, the previous traffic reporter. Instead, they hired Joel Hillan, who most recently was a traffic reporter and news anchor at KOA radio. Before that gig, he was a news anchor and reporter at a TV station in Grand Junction.

CBBS 4 news director Tim Wieland tells me that Hillan “lives and breathes traffic.”

“Traffic is critically important to our morning news viewers – and I wanted someone who will eat, sleeep and breathe traffic and that certainly describes Joel. If anything happens in the metro area that could impact your comuite – this guy is on it!”

You can follow him on Twitter @JoelHillan and he has started a traffic blog on CBSDenver.com: denver.cbslocal.com/2012/05/22/denver-moves-up-a-few-spots-in-new-traffic-ratings/.

When I e-mailed Wieland about this new guy (yes, I’m up early enough to watch the show), I asked him who’s the guy with the bucket full of teeth? I’m just envious.

Burger bash

CityGrille, an awesome steak burger joint at 321 E. Colfax turns 14 on Tuesday, but you get the benefit of its birthday. That day you can get a $5 steak burger and fries from 3 to 9 p.m. and $1 draft beers from 3 to 6 p.m. Website: citygrille.com to get the coupon.

Disco isn’t dead

Cherry nightclub at 231 Milwaukee St. in Cherry Creek North will pay homage to the passing of Disco Queen Donna Summer and Bee Gees brother Robin Gibb starting at 7 p.m. tonight with Cherry’s “54 Friday” party.

They will pay tribute by playing songs from the stars of the legendary Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. Cherry will continue the “54 Friday” parties every fourth Friday of the month. More info? cherrydenver.com.

Beer here

The Lowry Beer Garden opened this week inside the new Hanger 2 development in Lowry. Larimer Associates, the owner, gutted the east dock building attached to the hanger to create the nearly 8,000-squre-foot bar, beer garden and restaurant.

The Lowry Beer Garden will feature more than 4,500 square feet of outdoor garden area with open-air seating and a covered pavillion that will accommodate 350 guests.

There are 16 beers on tap plus more by the free run 4.0 v2 femmes bottle as well as a full bar and speciality cocktails. Acclaimed chef Troy Guard (TAG, TAG Raw Bar and Madison) consulted on the quick-serve menu.

Partner Christopher Mohaupt from Billy’s Inn will oversee daily operations of the new project.

Eavesdropping at a bar in LoDo: Patron at the bar: “…So then we see a bunch of Hillbillies.”

Bartender: “Excuse me, I believe they prefer to be called Appalachian Americans.”

My Facebook page has moved. Be sure to like it! Also, here’s where you go to get my column emailed to you Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. My email: penny@blacktie-llc.com.

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History Center opens with a bang

April 27, 2012

Wednesday’s grand opening celebration of the History Colorado Center was filled with all the theatrical elements an event could muster: drama, comedy, tragedy, melodrama and denouement.

The evening’s plot opened with a welcome speech by the Center’s CEO Ed Nichols, who addressed the VIP crowd that was invited an hour prior to the party for regular ticket holders.

Nichols acknowledged the companies that were pivotal in the making of History Colorado: Tryba Architects, Trammell Crow developers and Hensel Phelps Construction, Air Jordan Femme whose work force spent more than 700 man years building the building.

“Our aim is not to teach history here but to create excitement about history,” Nichols said. “It’s time to celebrate with you who invest in Colorado’s future every day.”

The History Center opens to the public at 10 a.m. Saturday. Two more phases are to open in 2013 and 2014.

Gov. John Hickenlooper, never one to shy away from a microphone, delivered the message that “Colorado state is more defined by its future than its past. That doesn’t mean that our past isn’t incredibly important.”

He inadvertently provided comic relief for the evening by saying, “Let me introduce our state governor Joe Garcia.”

Lt. Gov. Garcia quipped, “Thank you Lt. Gov. Hickenlooper. I will be brief because the governor wasn’t.”

Mayor Michael Hancock was next up in the batting order. “This has been the longest soft opening I have ever seen,” he said “I have been here for at least 20 events since January. … Congratulations, and let’s get this damn thing open!”

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The plot thickens

Attendees of the History Colorado Center grand opening celebration noshed on bountiful bites provided by K-M Concessions, the center’s exclusive caterer and food vendor.

Passed appetizers included skewered strawberries with prosciutto, mascarpone and fig puree and braised pork belly bites.

The saloon set on the second floor housed a real saloon along with buffets ladened with charred asparagus shooters with lemon caper burre blanc, caprese stack on mini baguettes, bison sliders on brioche, lamb chops with vegetable risotto and mini chicken osso buco with green chili grits.


Denver proprietors of competing houses of ill repute took their differences to a duel during the History Colorado Center grand opening festivities.

The two ladies of the night, in a dispute over the affections (and financial support) of gambler Cort Thompson, decided to put to rest their differences through a duel with pistols at 10 paces.

Thompson, ever the gentleman, “loaded” the wooden guns with rubberband ammo. The ladies, back to back, paced off 10 steps and turned, pistols pointed at each other. But in a dramatic twist, working girls Kate Fulton and Mattie Silks aimed straight at Cort. “It’s all your fault!” they shrieked as they fired the rubberbands.


The first food truck party Rollin’ Against Hunger, a fundraiser for Food Bank of the Rockies, rolls out from 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday at 2920 Larimer St.

Master chef Jake Gandolfo and his wife, Erin, are on a “culinary crusade” traveling the U.S. in a 32-foot RV while cooking and rallying to stamp out hunger.

Mile High Spirits is hosting the mini food truck party along with Crock Spot, Street Eats, NZ Smoking Guns, Mestizo’s, Aiko Pops and United We Feed.

Disco Inferno

Burn baby, burn. Got disco fever? Cherry nightclub at 231 Milwaukee has the cure with a disco tribute to the infamous New York hot spot Studio 54 to celebrate the long-gone club’s 35th anniversary.

So put on your boogie shoes and get your groove on from 6 this evening to 2 a.m. Saturday. More information: cherrydenver.com.

Good eats

Here’s a recap of places where I’ve nibbled and noshed recently:

* The Wooden Table, 2500 E. Orchard Road, Greenwood Village. Chef Brett Shaheen, formerly with Sambuca, Luca d’ Italia and Osteria Marco, and business partner Jane Duncan met at Sambuca and always knew they would open an eatery together.

They’ve created a culinary oasis in the middle of Greenwood Village in the shopping center that shares space with TJ Maxx Home Goods.

Shaheen insists on making all the pastas by hand, and the entrees including the bass and rabbit two ways are outstanding. Duncan is a pastry whiz whipping out housemade limoncello cheesecake and tres dulces cake; woodentablerestaurant.com.

* EDGE in the Four Seasons Denver Hotel, 14th and Arapahoe. Executive chef Simon Purvis and his team have created a spring/summer lunch menu at EDGE that’s filled with fresh ingredients indicative of the season.

Try the spring pea soup, frisee and arugula salad with strawberries and housemade ricotta, heirloom tomatoes with buffalo mozzarella, make your own burger from the burger bar, air jordan 1 and top it off with a Nutella marshmallow shake.

The EDGE “business quickie” menu includes a cup of roasted tomato soup, choice of sesame chicken salad, tamari glazed salmon or kobe slider, and chocolate brownie for $18. More at fourseasons.com/denver.

* Ambria, 16th Street Mall and Larimer St. I’ve loved this restaurant since it opened with chef Jeremy Kittleson, who’s since moved on. New chef Gabe Balenzuela from The Oceanaire Seafood Room is now putting his own stamp on the menu by bringing in more fish and shellfish dishes. Plus, the restaurant hired new marketing man Jim Guttau who threw a killer party Monday to show off Balenzuela’s kitchen skills.

The menu is eclectic new American with an outstanding halibut and granola-encrusted lambchops. Lunch and dinner Monday through Friday, brunch Saturday and small plates Sunday. Happy hour 2:30 to 6:30 Monday through Saturday with $5 glasses from a choice of 10 wines. Parking validated after 4 p.m. in the Tabor Center; ambriadenver.com.

* Margs Taco Bistro, two locations: 1519 Wynkoop and 200 Fillmore. Margs is part of the street taco craze, along with Pinche Tacos, El Diablo and the up and coming T|ACO from Troy Guard and the H Burger boys.

Margs goes beyond the Mexican borders to translate taco technology into global cuisine. Tacos include Italian caprese, asian chicken and slaw with peanut sauce, bietnamese banh mi, Korean portk, Caribbean jerk and Indian chicken vindaloo; margstacobistro.com.

Eavesdropping on a wife to her husband: “Honey, the Today show says you’re supposed to ask me how I’m doing and say that you love me three, four or five times a day.”

“Good gawd!”

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My mission today: To get chef Troy Guard the Twitter followers he so richly deserves

April 19, 2012

Just 290? Peeps, let’s show him some love!

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Sushi follows pizza into LoDo, tacos not far behind

April 19, 2012

Sushi eateries are invading LoDo with the same feeding frenzy that recently put a plethora of pizza places in the neighborhood.

Hapa Sushi Grill & Sake Bar, will open its fifth outlet in the former India House space at 1514 Blake St., Blue Sushi Sake Grill this summer will take over part of the old Dixons building at 16th and Wazee, and Aoba is soon to open in the old Organixx space at 15th and Blake.

That’s a lot of fish swimming into the same lake. Hapa, with locations in Boulder (two), Cherry Creek and the Landmark project south, is owned by Mark Van Grack, who last month bought the 1514 Blake St. air jordan 11 building from India House owner Gughi Singh for $2.1 million.  Singh bought the place nearly 10 years ago for $950,000, according to public records.

Meanwhile, Denver chef-restaurateur Troy Guard and the H Burger boys are making a run for the border with two taco joints in the works – on East Pearl in Boulder and in the former 8 Rivers location at 1515 Blake St. They expect to sign the 8 Rivers lease next week.

Guard, who already has TAG, TAG Raw Bar and Madison Street in his culinary collection, said T|aco (pronounced Tee-ahko, a take on H Burger) will open the Boulder store the first week in May. The downtown restaurant opens in August.

“The menu will have 10 tacos, a salad, chips, guac, fresh salsa, ceviche, homemade tortillas and a tamale of the week,” Guard said. “The kind of food I like to eat. I think Mexican food is making a comeback with a twist.”

Certainly Pinche Tacos owner Kevin Morrison, one of the founders of the Spicy Pickle sandwich shops, would agree. He’s had mucho success with his tiny taqueria at 1514 York St.

And H Burger will open another outlet on East Pearl next to Pizzeria Locale also in the first week of May. “We’re just a little busy,” joked partner Geoff Smith.

House with spouse

I told you recently that former Nuggets star Nene and his wife, Lauren, got their Grape Street home under contract for $1.6 million before he was traded to the Washington Wizards. But it doesn’t look like the Hilarios are real estate poor in Denver.

Earlier this year, the couple upgraded to a posh pad in the Buell Mansion subdivision for $3.4 million.

Perhaps the Hilarios will hang on to the Cherry Hills Village air jordan 12 nest where they’ll return to roost during the off season.

Strings celebrated

Strings owners Tammy and Noel Cunningham were among the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Neighbor Award winners honored during a gala dinner Wednesday at its 2012 Public Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.

The Cunninghams (Noel died in December) were named this year’s Cornerstone Humanitarians for their philanthropic efforts. Each honoree was given a $5,000 contribution to his or her charitable initiatives.

Baby steps

Congrats to The Palm general manager Cathy Cooney Green and hubby Brian Green on the April 2 arrival of baby Finnegan Robert Green. The tot’s stats were 7 pounds 3 ounces and 21 inches long.

Cathy expects to return to the power lunch steak place June 1.

Signs of the times

In the Lime XS parking lot on Sixth Avenue: “Party like a piñata, get smashed. Cinco de Mayo.”

On the marquee outside of the shuttered Caldonia’s on Parker Road: “Closed forever.”

Eavesdropping on a periodontist: “Your teeth don’t care whether you have dental insurance.”

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