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Sunnyside's Thunderbird Imperial Lounge has already shuttered.

Jesse Morreale’s Project Gets a Name

The Thunderbird Imperial Lounge begins to take shape in Sunnyside.

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Weeks ago we announced that restaurateur Jesse Morreale and Larimer Associates/City Street Investors had a project in the works. And then we followed that up with the news of the location (the former TAG Burger Bar at Lipan and 38th streets) and that Solera‘s Goose Sorensen had signed on as consulting chef. Now we’ve learned the project’s name: The Thunderbird Imperial Lounge.

The moniker and logo, which muralist Travis VanCleave will paint on the building today, recalls the nostalgia and imagery of the Ford Thunderbird, Morreale says. “It honors our traffic corridor location without being kitschy.” The name also has a fortitude that underscores Morreale’s intention of creating an iconic neighborhood gathering place. Prior to 2012, the building used to house the Subway Tavern, a 52-year-old staple in Northwest Denver. Morreale hopes the Thunderbird will fill a similar neighborhood niche. “I like building things that can stand to become an institution,” he says.

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Inside, against a canvas of forest green walls and a horseshoe bar, Morreale has repurposed bits and pieces of his past work as a concert promoter and restaurateur (look for event posters, a jukebox from a 1998 feature film, and RockBar’s leather banquettes) to create a comfortable, low-key space. The food will strike a familiar note with burgers, wings, sandwiches, and salads, along with a sampling of long-gone favorites from spots like RockBar and El Diablo.

Watch 5280.com for more details, such as the opening date and the menu.

3759 Lipan St.

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