New Denver Restaurants Open January 2022

There’s no denying that the first month of 2022 has been a rough one for restaurants in metro Denver. While diners are more than ready for things to return to normal, the challenges facing the hospitality industry continue to put a strain on owners, operators and employees.

The two biggest hurdles right now: staffing shortages, and rising costs on everything from food and booze to to-go packaging. The late December/early January spike in COVID cases had a negative impact on bars and restaurants, too — many had to close for several days because of positive staff cases, and those that were able to stay open saw a decrease in business. According to a survey conducted in early January by the Colorado Restaurant Association, 85 percent of Colorado eateries experienced a drop in demand for indoor dining, and 78 percent say that business conditions are worse now than they were three months ago.

All that strain led to a slew of closures kicking off the new year. First came the sudden shuttering of the Breakfast King after 47 years, a loss for lovers of Denver’s classic diners, which are dwindling in number — but not gone by any means.

Owlbear was only open for less than three years, but in that time, it became known as one of Denver’s best barbecue joints. But according to owner Karl Fallenius, the cost of running the business combined with pandemic burnout brought him to a breaking point. The story was similar at Brightmarten and the Irish Snug.

The Marshall fire was the culprit behind two more closures. The Rotary’s second location in Louisville, which had opened just two weeks earlier, was destroyed by the blaze; the owners plan to reopen in a new location in Louisville. And Wayne’s Smoke Shack in Superior was so heavily damaged that repairs may take up to eighteen months.

Despite all of the challenges, new spots continue to open: nineteen so far in the new year. Dana Rodriguez, who is working on reopening Casa Bonita as its executive chef, debuted her first solo venture, Cantina Loca in LoHi. Over in Uptown, the Crypt has quickly become a favorite for those in the industry — and anyone looking for late-night drinks, burgers and vegan eats. Down south in Englewood, another new bar, Fellow Traveler, is also focusing on vegan food.

There was some shuffling at Grange Hall — Rado Burgers and Crazy Love Pizza are out while Xatrucho and Tilford’s Wood Fired Pizza are in. Restaurateur Jared Leonard did some shuffling, too, swapping out his Budlong Hot Chicken in Wash Park for the classy, ​​French-Montreal inspired Au Feu. Amira Grill returned in a new location on South Colorado Boulevard while Ratio Beerworks added a second taproom and brewing facility in Overland.

All in all, while this month’s losses were tough, there’s plenty of reason to be optimism as we head into February, with a slew of additional openings scheduled.

Here’s the complete list of restaurants and bars that opened and closed in January 2022.

click to enlarge

The Rotary’s Louisville location was destroyed in the Boulder county fires just two weeks after opening.

The Rotary

Restaurants and bars opening in January 2022:*

Amira Grill, 2280 South Colorado Boulevard
Au Feu, 81 South Pennsylvania Street
Blue Island Oyster Bar and Seafood, 10008 Commons Street, Lone Tree
Cantina Loca, 2880 Zuni Street
The Crypt, 1618 East 17th Avenue
Dos Santos, 20 Wilcox Street, Castle Rock
Fellow Traveler, 3487 South Broadway, Englewood
Kabod Coffee, Denver International Airport, Level 6 (in the terminal)
Law’s Chophouse, 14694 Orchard Parkway, Westminster
Mono Mono, 599 Crossing Drive, Lafayette
Pairadice, 2209 Welton Street
Petunia Bakeshop, 3000 West 23rd Avenue
Ratio Beerworks, 2030 South Cherokee Street
Shake Shack, 7979 East Arapahoe Road, Greenwood Village
Sir, 1822 Blake Street
Smok, 2000 South Colorado Boulevard
Tattered Cover Best Cellars, 8885 Westminster Boulevard, Westminster
Tilford’s Wood Fired Pizza at Grange Hall, 6575 Greenwood Plaza Boulevard, Greenwood Village
Xatrucho at Grange Hall, 6575 Greenwood Plaza Boulevard, Greenwood Village

Restaurants and bars closing in January 2022:*

Breakfast King, 1100 South Santa Fe Drive
Brightmarten, 730 South University Boulevard
Crazy Love Pizza at Grange Hall, 6575 Greenwood Plaza Boulevard, Greenwood Village
Grind Kitchen + Watering Hole, 300 Fillmore Street
The Irish Snug, 1201 East Colfax Avenue
Mike’s Famous Pizza, 3700 West Quincy Avenue
Owlbear, 2826 Larimer Street
R&R BBQ, 5495 West 20th Avenue, Edgewater
Rado Burgers at Grange Hall, 6575 Greenwood Plaza Boulevard, Greenwood Village
The Rotary, 1116 West Dillon Road, Louisville
Ska Street Brewstillery, 1600 38th Street, Boulder
Urban Beets, 5616 Olde Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada
Wayne’s Smoke Shack, 406 Center Drive, Superior

*Or earlier and not previously reported.

Know of something we missed? Email us at [email protected].

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