Ten years ago, when Colorado-based eateries LoDo’s Bar & Grill and Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant opened locations in Highlands Ranch and Lone Tree, respectively, many industry insiders considered the move risky.
No more. As big corporations such as Charles Schwab, Dish Network, and Kaiser Permanente provide a steady employment base for the growing area (the population of Lone Tree has increased from 3,000 in 1995 to nearly 12,000 in 2013), more spots with downtown flagships are setting up shop in the burbs. Indeed, when ViewHouse opened a Centennial outpost (pictured) last summer, the crowds were so large the restaurant had to scramble to rent out nearby parking lots for its valet service.
Opening a southern location means catering to both the business crowd—lunch and happy hour—and families, says Paulina Szafranski, president of marketing for ViewHouse. It’s the same recipe with which other downtown spots have found success. “In Centennial it’s a slightly older, more sophisticated demographic, and that’s why we implemented more entrées and a more extensive happy hour,” she says. “[We are] evolving both ViewHouses to be similar brands, but at the same time they also have separate identities.”