Archive for February, 2010

Big Game to be Played on Wazee Street! Hmmm…

Those of us living downtown have figured out by now that something was finally going on in the space formerly occupied by Il Fornaio, 1631 Wazee. This big, beautiful, warm and inviting room of a restaurant has been sitting empty and mostly dark for well over two years. I think we have all missed it. But, recently there have been signs of life, and yesterday in The Denver Post, Penny Parker broke the Big Game open.

In late March, or early April, the Big Game Restaurant and Lounge will open there. And, we know this to be true, as this morning a beer truck driver confirmed that delivery schedules were in the works. We hope they have some good local beers delivered as well! The people playing the Big Game have reportedly worked on the concept for about a year and a half. The Chodorow group of Texas is opening this, their second restaurant in a new venture called the TurnTable Restaurant Group.

Very recently, they opened a restaurant in Miami’s tony South Beach area called the El Scorpion Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Bar. Early reviews speak well, mentioning good guacamole’s, food, decor, interesting drinks, loud music and a bar full of 20-something’s sipping their trendy South Beach beverages.

We get the Big Game. Many of the fixtures from Il Fornaio remain. The new menu is not set yet, but may include some game meat items (I trust they know that Buffalo is not really game any more) and they plan a Giant TV Screen which can show up to 12 sporting events at the same time. I believe that would be like watching a digital quilt that your grandmother would have made crossing the prairie if she could have at the time.

Now, of course, this is not the first Big Game in LoDo in recent years. Every year we get the Longhorn Steers in the Stock Show Parade. That probably doesn’t count. But, a couple of years ago, a very large Black Bear was parked on 17th Street by McCormick’s for an event. And, one Sunday night in the fall of 2004, the Ringling Brothers’ Circus had to move from the Pepsi Center to the Denver Coliseum. The elephants marched in perfect elephant formation right down the street below our window, sounding like big guys shuffling along in house slippers. And, don’t forget the Gorilla Run!

So, get ready for the Big Game on Wazee. Let’s see who shows up to play!

"Watch the Parkin’ Meters…"

“They are A-Changin'”! Thank you, Bob Dylan, for two totally unconnected lines. But, those Smart Meters are starting to show up in LoDo. Saw them today along 15th Street, and along Wazee. We wrote about them on February 3 in Denver by the Slice. Check that blog, “Just How Smart are these Meters, Anyway?”

Now we’ll get to find out. Visa, Mastercard, coins including dollar coins, but no parking keys. Testing tonight in LoDo! Did you know that parking meters were invented in Oklahoma City? Neither did I.

Lodo’s Limelight Awards Banquet Next Week!

There are a few tickets left for this spectacular celebration of achievement, but you’ll have to hurry. The Limelight Awards will be announced at a gala dinner party on Wednesday, March 10 at the Seawell Ballroom of the DCPA. Tickets are just $117 for members of the LoDo District, and $130 for non-members.

Formed in 1989, LoDo District Inc. is a membership organization supporting Lower Downtown’s unique historical, cultural and retail neighborhood.

The 20th Annual Limelight Awards honor the businesses and individuals who have made significant contributions to the community over the past year through their work in community service, building development and preservation, marketing, or service to the LoDo District, Inc. organization.

Cocktails at 5:30. Dinner, very brief business session and awards ceremony, with jazz and dancing into the night. 9 News Meteorologist Ashton Altieri mc’s this gala. Honor the winners! Enjoy the venue! Party down!

RSVP by March 1! Buy your tickets at http://www.lodo.org/ or call 303-628-5428 for more information.

More Window Work at the Saddlery Every Day!

More on the remake of the Colorado Saddlery building at 15th and Wynkoop. This article from yesterday’s Denver Post, link here: http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_14451347

Just a Few More Days…

…to participate in Denver Restaurant Week. It ends on Friday. Even though you can’t get to all 76 Downtown participants for the $52.80 dinner for two specials, chances are there are still spots at a couple of great places you haven’t tried yet. See the list and the menus at www.denver.org/denverrestaurant.

…to watch the Winter Olympics from Vancouver, British Columbia. There are just enough glimpses of the surroundings to remind us what a beautiful part of North America the Vancouver area is. Now, if we just had an ocean! Closing this weekend.

…Until this month’s Denver Mandolin Orchestra Free Concert at the
Wynkoop. Sunday, February 28 at 7:00 p.m. On tap, The Panache Ensemble for your monthly mandolin fix. And, some very good beer as well!

Our 40th Post! Celebrating Favorite Shapes in Downtown!

It won’t be long unitl Doors Open Denver makes its 6th appearance on the Spring Must List. This year, the chance to visit over 80 locations you probably don’t know much about is Saturday and Sunday, April 17th and 18th. And, the theme this year is “Denver Redux/Denver Re-Do”, new uses for old spaces. Doors Open Denver is presented by the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs and The Denver Architectural Foundation.

That got us to thinking. What are some of our (and send us yours) favorite shapes of Downtown Denver. Great spaces and buildings. Here are just a handfull, six actually. We’ll get back to Doors Open with more closer to the event.

1. The Museum of Contemporary Art, designed by David Adjaye. You can spend plenty of time looking at the fine installations here, but you can spend just as much time admiring the piece of art that is the buidling itself. Every space has its detail, its view. The building is as open and light and large in feeling for the footprint as one could be. And, the feeling, design and views from the rooftop cafe are a perfect way to pass a Saturday afternoon. Not to mention the fascinating drawings by A.G. Rizzoli which are part of the current exhibition there.

2. A space created to hold together the several buildings of the Denver Center for Performing Arts is a beautiful and alive people space. The Galleria is the center feature of this, the second largest performing arts complex in the country. Walk through every chance you get.

3. The D & F Tower. This is a fixture everybody would miss if it was suddenly not there. And, that almost happened years ago in the misguided days of DURA. But, we are lucky, and for those of us who don’t like watches, it keeps perfect time.

4. The 56-story Republic Plaza building is iconic in its own way. Views of Downtown always seem to focus there, especially when, on special occasions they play with the lights to spell out messages in the windows!

5. The Red House, on Wazee Street. This modernist residence is a more-than-compatible addition to the historic buildings in the LoDo neighborhood. Jim Olson, of Olson Kundig, Seattle, designed this home for the Mayers. Olson’s firm specializes in new construction in historic areas. The building is striking and pleasant to look at from the outside. If Jan Mayer ever invites you to see the inside of this residence/gallery, don’t miss it. It is truly a privilege. And, she is a most gracious hostess.

6. And, of course, Union Station. Check our previous posts for links to all the news about the re-development project, bound to get under way any day!

In the Cafe atop the Museum of Contemporary Art:, photo by Diane Huntress

Change is Coming to the 16th Street Mall. Read All About It!

Go to this article to read about the proposed changes to the 16th Street Mall, and the Public Hearings where you can voice your opinion. The Mall needs help. Here are the proposals being considered.

From the February 16 Denver Business Journal: http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/stories/2010/02/15/daily13.html