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David and Goliath…If you haven’t dined at Jack-n-Grill recently, you’ll want to know the New Mexican hotspot no longer accepts plastic. Notices posted around the restaurant and on the doors explain that Jack-n-Grill is refusing to pay $16,000 in processing fees to Visa and American Express. The way the restaurant sees it, credit card companies already take a cut of each and every transaction (yes, even on your $2 taco), so demanding an additional lump sum isas Jack Martinez calls it—″double dipping.” Rather than pay the fee and raise prices, Jack-n-Grill is cutting out the plastic altogetherand convenience. We don’t know about you, but it’s a rare day when we actually have cash on hand. It’ll be interesting to see how customers reactat least Jack-n-Grill provides an in-house ATM. 2524 Federal Blvd., 303-964-9544.
With gusto…The Robusto Room, a wine bar and jazz club in Lone Tree, opens its doors on December 9. Owners Peter and Sara Roth call it South Denver’s first and only smoke-free wine and jazz bar. “This isn’t a sit-down, blue-haired experience where you eat dinner and don’t talk,” says Peter who, before he was of age, would hang outside the open door of El Chapultapec to listen the tunes. “This is my model: I like the horns loud and I want to bring pieces of El Chapultapec, and New York’s The Blue Note and The Village Vanguard to South Denver.” The Roths’ other love is cigars-they’re the owners of Stogies & Bogiesand at The Robusto Room there’s a separate lounge for cigar fans. The food is low-key on purpose (“I don’t want to be misconstrued as a restaurant,” says Peter) but the handful of menu offerings sound tasty. The artisan cheese course, Cuban beef spring roll with mole sauce, and a corndog with a side of fried macaroni and cheese top our list. Wash those down with a fine French Cognac, a perfect martini, or a glass of wine from the 30 under $30 listall bottles are highly rated by Wine Spectator, Robert Parker, and/or Wine Enthusiast. 9535 Park Meadows Drive, Lone Tree, 303-790-7363, www.therobustoroom.com.
Bravo…Don’t miss the Taste of Italy wine dinner Wednesday, November 30, at Randolph’s Restaurant & Bar. It’s Randolph’s last wine dinner of 2005 and they’re doing it up right. The six-course meal includes dishes such as lobster ravioli with pink peppercorn sauce, wild mushroom risotto, and veal chop Florentine, and each course is paired with Italian vino. Berries and zabaglione (a frothy Italian custard made from egg yolks, Marsala, and sugar) made tableside finishes off the evening. Dinner begins at 7 p.m. and costs $69 a person. 1776 Grant St., 303-318-7272, www.randolphsdenver.com.