When the Populist opened on Larimer Street in 2012, it was the cool kid. An innovative, seasonal restaurant that drew people up to 32nd Street with its killer patio and one of the best tasting menu deals in town.
Now, as anyone who’s strolled that stretch over the past couple years knows, RiNo is overrun with cool kids. But there will be one OG less when the Populist closes for good on August 10.
“When we first opened, we were such a destination restaurant,” says co-owner Jonathan Power. “People thought we were crazy opening at 32nd and Larimer. Our customers had to come out to that neighborhood to see us. We were pretty much the only thing. Now there’s a plethora of restaurants up and down the neighborhood.”
While Power and partners Noah Price and Cliff White may have taken a chance on the location seven years ago, these days it sits on prime real estate—and it looks like the space won’t stay vacant for long. Power says that they’re turning over the lease, liquor license, and all the other imperative restaurant-operating stuff to the Señor Bear team, who will open Mister Oso, a spin-off of the popular Pan-Latin eatery in LoHi. (Representatives for Señor Bear said the deal is still being finalized. We’ll provide more details on Mister Oso when we know more.)
Up until August 10, though, the whole team from the Populist—including executive chef Theo Adley and chef de cuisine Russell Stippich—are sticking around.
“A lot of restaurants just shut their doors and disappear. There’s this fear that everyone will go find a new job and stop showing up,” Power says. “We’ve built a really strong family, and everyone here will see it through and work till the end. Everybody wants to say a proper goodbye.”
To say goodbye to the Populist yourself, make a reservation through Thursday, August 8; the final two nights of service will be walk-ins-only to accommodate the restaurant’s many devotees.