Denver's Cursed Restaurant Spaces

Some culinary addresses in the Mile High City just can’t seem to hold down a tenant. Here, five of Denver’s unluckiest restaurant locations. 

March 2016

—Photo illustration by John Ueland

295 S. Pennsylvania St.

The Turnover

Pho Basil
Pho Pasta
Café Bar
Grey Cactus Cocina Y Bar

Currently: Telegraph Neighborhood Bistro & Bar

The Curse

The longest tenant—Café Bar, purveyor of seasonal American fare—of this building northwest of Washington Park lasted three years. Grey Cactus barely made it four months. Current tenant Telegraph, however, shows some promise: Owner Chris Sargent has already figured out the formula for success at his popular West Highland eatery, Brazen.

2200 Market St.

The Turnover

Otto’s American Grill
Chino Latino

Currently: i-Fish & Ramen

The Curse

As the Ballpark neighborhood exploded, restaurant owners in this developing area struggled to get a feel for what diners wanted. But they seem to have found it with i-Fish & Ramen, which has stayed put for five years under the guidance of a sushi pro who emigrated from Myanmar.

1480 Arapahoe St.

The Turnover

Gallagher’s Steakhouse
5280 Steakhouse*
Hickory Prime Steakhouse
Prime Steakhouse

Currently: Reunion Gastro Pub & Wine Bar

The Curse

Steak-house fatigue might be the problem here. Downtown doesn’t seem to need another steak joint—unless it comes from one of the biggest names in Denver’s dining scene (ahem, Troy Guard’s Guard and Grace). Reunion Gastro Pub, the current occupant of six months, specializes in fancy pizzas and burgers—probably a wise detour.

250 Josephine St.

The Turnover

Papillon Cafe
Go Fish Grille
Juicy Lucy’s Steakhouse

Currently: For Rent

The Curse

Blame it on the sky-high rents (retail property goes for upward of $25 per square foot), the lack of parking, the awkward location, or an honest-to-goodness hex, but one thing is clear: This Cherry Creek spot cannot hold down a long-term tenant. Its latest victim? Three-year-old Opus, which shuttered in December. 

1512 Curtis St.

The Turnover

The Cove
Fisherman’s Cove
McGahey’s Restaurant
Ocean Palace Chinese restaurant
Victory American Grill and Bar
Baur’s Ristorante
Le Grand Bistro

Currently: Baur’s Restaurant and Listening Lounge

The Curse

The plague on this Theatre District location is relatively recent. Constructed in 1881, this building housed O.P. Baur Confectionery Co. and expanded with Baur’s restaurant in 1918. After both shut down in 1970, the venue changed hands eight times. Its difficulties might arise from the large space’s awkwardly divided layout—or it might be a casualty of a fickle theater crowd.

*Full disclosure: A legal action brought by this magazine in 2009 led to 5280 Steakhouse changing its name.