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Sad news arrived today: Twelve Restaurant, one of 5280‘s 25 Best Restaurants, will close its doors after service on August 23. The announcement comes a few months after owner Jeff Osaka revealed he’s opening Osaka Ramen, a Tokyo-inspired noodle shop, at 26th and Walnut streets this winter. Osaka says he’s shuttering the nearly six-year-old restaurant to focus on the new concept and other projects—one of which includes reinventing Twelve. “Twelve isn’t going away, it’s just taking a hiatus,” Osaka says. “I want to give it an overhaul, change the name, change the concept, change the location.” Although there’s no concrete timeframe, Osaka is actively looking at spaces in a variety of neighborhoods.
Osaka moved from Los Angeles to Denver in 2008 to open Twelve, an ambitious seasonal restaurant with a menu that changes every month. Since that time, the local restaurant arena has exploded—and Twelve with it. Osaka’s 50-seat eatery has brought him much-deserved recognition, including an impressive 2014 James Beard semifinalist nod for Best Chef Southwest. The Ballpark neighborhood has also grown, and many credit Osaka, along with Snooze and Marco’s Coal-Fired Pizzeria, for cleaning up the once-bedraggled area.
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That progress is likely to continue when Butcher’s Bistro, a retail butcher shop and restaurant owned by Scott Bauer, opens in the Twelve space in October. Bauer and the bistro’s executive chef Tyson Holzheimer, both hail from Snooze. “For two years, I’ve had this dream to open a retail butcher shop and restaurant that focuses solely on Colorado-sourced meats—beef, lamb, pork, and poultry—and it’s finally coming to fruition,” Bauer says.
For now, though, Osaka assures Twelve fans it’s business as usual at the restaurant. Get your fix of Osaka’s fine, seasonal cuisine, including his spectacular shaved vegetable salad with banyuls vinaigrette (the only item that remains on the menu month after month). Also look for Osaka to host a ramen pop-up—the first one in April was a huge success—later this summer or early fall.
2233 Larimer St., 303-293-0287