For most of its five-year tenure, tenants at the Source have remained static—until recently. Over the past year, Box Car Coffee Roasters, Western Daughters Butcher Shoppe, Babette’s Artisan Breads, and, as of this week, the RiNo Yacht Club (RYC), have either decamped or announced plans to do so.

It might sound like dire times for the RiNo market hall, but don’t worry: The team at Zeppelin Development, led by vice president for development Justin Croft, has been working on a plan for the Source 2.0, which will begin to take shape early next month.

“Now that the Source Hotel & Market Hall is open, we’re revisiting the original Source,” says co-president Kyle Zeppelin. “With the departure of the RiNo Yacht Club, we have the opportunity to increase the functionality of the bar area and common space, and bring in more diverse seating options too.”

Croft’s team has conceived the day-to-night bar concept that will anchor the Source’s next iteration, calling it Isabel after Isabel Nesmith Evans, the first female industrialist in Denver. Her history is rich: After traveling to Colorado from Ohio in a covered wagon during the 1870s, Nesmith Evans eventually took over as president of the Colorado Iron Works, the company that built and operated the original Source foundry in the 1880s. By day, she ran the company and by night, she hosted lavish parties at her Capitol Hill mansion.

Croft was inspired by the dual nature of Nesmith Evans’ role in Denver. “Isabel was made of nails,” Croft says, “running the show [at the Iron Works] but also acting as a high-society host. Hospitality was a big part of her background.” To mirror that legacy, Croft intends Isabel (the bar) to be a warm, multifunctional gathering space. There will be fresh pressed juices, smoothies, and the like from Chicago-based Harvest Juicery in the morning; juice-based cocktails with Latin spirits such as pisco and tequila—as well as beer and wine—in the afternoon; and full craft cocktail service at night. Bites from other vendors in the Source (such as Comida and Mondo Market) will be available for order at the bar as well.

Surrounding Isabel will be a renovated common area featuring more diverse seating options, lots of greenery, and a large library table for remote workers. Expect lighter woods, plush leather, and softer lighting, all with the modern look the Source is known for.

The oven in the former Babette’s Artisan Breads space will resume cranking out naturally leavened loaves before long as well, thanks to Ismael de Sousa, the Venezuelan-born baker who is bringing Reunion Bread Company to the Source. De Sousa has lived and worked all over the world, from South Africa to England to Miami, and promises to deliver rustic sourdough loaves, sweet and savory pastries, toasts, and more that reflect the cultures he’s experienced. “You will find us making bread all day long, and we want our customers to stay and learn,” Ismael said in a press release. Reunion’s soft opening is scheduled for January 19.

Acorn restaurateur Bryan Dayton (who also owns Corrida and Oak at Fourteenth in Boulder, and Brider in Denver) is going to expand Acorn’s footprint into part of the former Western Daughters Butcher Shoppe space, and open a new (albeit small) concept there as well. Tune in early next week when 5280 will run an exclusive story on Dayton’s plans.

And as if all that wasn’t enough, the space that once housed the Gallery will welcome a new apparel boutique (which has yet to be named) offering custom orders, on-site alterations, and a selection of curated and vintage clothing. The retail concept is slated to open in the late spring.

So, get on over to the RYC before the end of the month for farewell drinks—or mark February 1 on your calendar for its final bash, which promises to be legendary—and to toast the Source that Denver has known and loved. Then, prepare yourself for the Source 2.0, which is primed to be better than ever.

Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen is 5280’s former food editor. She oversaw all of 5280’s food-related coverage from October 2016 to March 2021.