Archive for June, 2011

This is NOT Good News!

Today, from restaurant consultant John Imbergamo, this sad news for Downtown Residents:

Dixon’s Downtown Grill will close in early September after fourteen years at the LoDo location. Racines, its sister restaurant, remains open at 650 Sherman Street. Co-owner Lee Goodfriend attributed a change in real estate strategies as the major reason for the closing.

“Our experience with Racines has spoiled us,” said Goodfriend, co-owner of both restaurants with partner David Racine. “We own the building and parking garage at Racines and weren’t interested in renewing a deal where we could not own the real estate. At this stage of our lives, we’ll be very happy running one very successful restaurant”

Goodfriend said that many of Dixons current staff members will be offered positions at Racines when Dixons closes.

Dixons opened in 1997 in a very different LoDo neighborhood. The restaurant quickly became the “go to” place for breakfast and lunch meetings by business owners and residents in Lower Downtown. It has been honored by the Denver food press with Best Margarita and Best Nacho awards for many years.

Colorado Rockies fans often celebrate a win or drown their sorrows with drinks or dinner on the wraparound patio and weekend brunch business brings urban and suburban diners to this sprawling restaurant. Dixons was at the epicenter of LoDo crowds during the Democratic National Convention in 2008.

“Many of the Dixons menu favorites are also served at Racines,” said David Racine. ‘We hope to see some of our Dixons regulars make the switch when we close in September.” Mercantile Square landlord Coughlin & Co has not announced a replacement tenant for the 9200 square foot space.

This is not good news.

“Follow that Cab!”

1,304 licensed taxicabs ply the streets of Denver now. And, apparently that number will hold. According to the Denver Post, the state Public Utilities Commission today wisely turned down two different requests to add 150 more cabs (300 total) to the flock.

Just One in a Thousand

If there is one thing that we do not need Downtown, it is more taxis. Prior to today’s ruling, Metro Taxi undertook an undercover video operation and found its own, and other, drivers in violation of allowable procedures. They were frequently turning down “short” trips. They were constantly making illegal turns and parking illegally trying to get fares. And, they were overcharging and undercharging competitively trying to find business. There is not enough business for even these 1,304 taxis in Denver.

Sure, they do better with the large conventions. And, some of the drivers did so well during the 2008 Democratic National Convention they took their vacations, or even retired, afterward. But, most days, you are more likely to get run over, at some intersections, by a cab than by a car…or a bus.

Don’t worry. If you need a cab, you’ll find one. Or, a pedi-cab. Or, a horse and buggy. Many Downtown residents have the phone number of a personal cab driver they like for those trips to the airport at 4:00 in the morning.

In Aspen, tourists can pop for a ride with the indomitable Jon Barnes, in The Ultimate Taxi. Check this out.

But, here, we’ve got cabs. And, if you are lucky, the driver will actually know how to get where you want to go. And, if you are even luckier, you can split your group into two cabs, jump into the second one, and pretend you’re in a movie with the command to the driver, “Follow that cab!”  (Denver by the Slice actually accomplished that. Once. In Fiji, of all places. Plenty of cabs there, too.)

Summer’s Passing By

(Photo: Diane Huntress)

Summer’s First Friday Brings…

LoDo Cares Could Still Use Some Help

This Monday, June 27, is the annual bar-b-que for the residents of the Barth Hotel. They could use another 2 or 3 people to help manage the festivities. The grills fire up at 4 on the sidewalk along 17th in front of the Barth and they serve at 5 p.m. sharp. Come help other LoDo Cares volunteers with the cooking or serving if you can – its fun and all about the community.

Please notify Jim Theye: jtheye@kentwoodcity.com or 303-601-6050 if you would like to get involved.

Also, on Monday, the Train Really Is Leaving the Station

Arriving at 1:00 on Monday afternoon is a large crane. In a made for television event, said crane will lift the model rail car that’s been on display for weeks onto a truck and cart it away. Take your last chance this weekend to see the type of train car that one day you may ride in to DIA. At the Wynkoop side of Union Station. Brought to you by RTD.

How to Get More Traffic to Your Neighborhood

Yes, really!

Yes, close the road. Wynkoop Street really is, and has been, closed at 16th for one of Xcel’s digs. Sign at 15th is large. It is clear. Road is Closed except to local traffic. It is amazing to watch how many car and truck drivers must think that they are, indeed, “Local Traffic”. And, the turn around parade is endless! This is providing the street entertainment for customers at Marg’s Taco Bistro. And, it sure beats a bagpiper!

Speaking of Bagpipers…McCormick’s Never Closed the Bar

Still Serving!

The reported re-modeling of what we consider a perfectly serviceable and enjoyable spot, in or out, has not happened. One of the bartenders told us, “There are issues. We don’t know when it will happen.” Okay, we’ll accept that. Keep enjoying another pleasant Downtown spot…and another beer!

And, be careful crossing the streets!

Talking Points: Meet Randolph Laub, Master Craftsman

Each week, we’ll introduce you to someone you may, or may not know who lives in Downtown Denver. And, each week, we’ll ask that person five questions…always the same. But, we’re sure to get a lot of different answers! Each week’s interviewee will also be archived on the page titled “Talking Points” at the top of this site. Let us know what you think.

Randolph Laub, photo by Diane Huntress

Downtown Resident Randolph Laub is an artist, master woodworker and master printmaker. About his past he says, “There are a few moments in my life that seem worth mentioning. When I was in the fifth grade we took a field trip to the Los Angeles Times-I was captivated with the complexity and mechanics of it all. When I saw the Greene & Greene Gamble House in Pasadena a bolt of lightning shot through me. I want to make objects that inspire others and are crafted with soul.” Visit his site, here, to see just some of the scope of his work.

Denver by the Slice caught up with Randolph and asked him about living in Downtown Denver:

What is the best thing about living Downtown?

We moved from Los Angeles last year where it’s difficult to feel the sense of community that LoDo offers. Walking is the highlight of living downtown. Anytime, night or day, I can open my door and stroll in any direction. We are fortunate to be so close to Cherry . Our dogs will testify to the benefits of Creek walks.

What don’t we have now that we need Downtown?

LoDo must have a Farmer’s Market. If we are too small for a brick and mortar market, we will all benefit from a weekly market.

What has been the biggest change while you have lived Downtown?

Aside from the obvious (LA to Denver) relocation change, I feel that I am part of an important movement here. People making a difference in the community. Looking further ahead instead of what’s right in front of us at the moment. It’s an evolution that needs to spread all over the country.

What’s your favorite place to go away from Downtown?

Because we are still rather new to Denver we have yet to venture too far from LoDo. Ask me in another year.

Tell us something about yourself that most people wouldn’t know.

I am a grandfather. Seven year old Aidan lives in Lakewood. It’s one of the joys of living!

Well said!

Denver Cruisers Report for June 22…

It looked more like “Bike to Quirk Day” for the Denver Cruisers last night in Downtown Denver. In fact, it was their homage to duct tape and bubble wrap, not necessarily in that order.

How many were there? Nobody really counts, but hundreds would be close. And, they were running laps in the shape of duct tape wraps around several LoDo blocks. All in peace. All in fun!

Next week’s theme for the Cruisers is “South of the Border.” Ole!

The Sounds of Summer…Yes! Taiko Drums!

Cherry Blossom Festival Time!

It’s finally Summer. And, it’s finally time for the 40th Annual Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival at Sakura Square! Free admission, of course, Saturday and Sunday, June 25-26 on Lawrence Street between 19th and 20th.

As always, the festival features continuous live entertainment…including lots of Taiko Drums. Of course, there are plenty of arts and crafts, bonsai, ikebana and a feast of Japanese foods.

The popular Bon Odori community folk dance starts at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Find more information and the full schedule here. And, check out “Asian Fusion”, the Denver music group that blends modern jazz with the Taiko.

Since 1892

Brought to you by lots of sponsors, the Tri-State Buddhist Temple and a very good Japanese beer!