There are many causes behind the recent spate of restaurant closing announcements: Staffing challenges, rising rents, increased competition from so many new eateries. “I don’t think we’re entering a recession or seeing a bubble burst,” says Carolyn Livingston, communication director for the Colorado Restaurant Association. “I think our industry is just much more competitive and challenging. Guests have many more options to choose from, so they may go to their old favorites less often.”
For longtime Coloradans, it’s sad to watch the institutions of Old Denver exit our scene. Whether the food and hospitality at these spots was memorable doesn’t seem as important in this moment as the fact that they were all comforting, familiar parts of the cityscape—repositories of decades of memories. (I have a particular soft spot for Marlowe’s, where my now-husband and I went on our first date.) On the other hand, the new restaurants popping up all over town are, for the most part, catering to Denver residents’ hunger for vibrant, exciting, and hip experiences and cuisines. Case in point: The not-yet-year-old Call nabbed a spot on Bon Appetit’s Hot 10 list of America’s Best New Restaurants.
Whether the evolution of our dining scene terrifies or thrills you, you still have time to say your goodbyes to these soon-to-close members of Denver’s old guard. Downtown’s Old Spaghetti Factory location is open until September 16; Govnr’s Park Tavern until November 11; Marlowe’s until December 22; and Lala’s Wine Bar until December 23.