SOLUTIONS LOUNGE & RESTAURANT FEATURING ESCAPOLOGY®
Guests coming for the holidays? Introduce them to Solutions Lounge & Restaurant. In addition to a …
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SOLUTIONS LOUNGE & RESTAURANT FEATURING ESCAPOLOGY®
Guests coming for the holidays? Introduce them to Solutions Lounge & Restaurant. In addition to a scrumptious steampunk bar, Solutions features an ample dining area and seven escape rooms, each with a different and unique theme.
Five rooms are already in operation. The list includes an Arizona Shoot-Out room and one focused on the Cuban Missile Crisis. Each adventure carries a different difficulty rating.
In addition to escape rooms, Solutions features a steampunk lounge and a cheese-centric menu for relaxation.
Two additional rooms are set to debut before the holidays, one of which includes a train-themed escape. The escape side of the venture has been built in tandem with Escapology®, a national firm that designs escape adventures.
Owners Tina and Vic Ronder have sampled and enjoyed escape rooms around the West but they discerned room for improvement.
“We felt that something was missing,” Vic Ronder said. “That was food and beverages.”
An ample bar sits in the center of a 6,100 square foot warehouse surrounded by restaurant spaces. The structure was masterfully renovated to assume a role its original builders never envisioned. Here you can linger before an adventure, rehash your latest escape or simply sample the restaurant’s offerings.
Specialty cocktails are escape-themed so you’ll find a Shanghaied special and another dubbed, “Antidote.”
The menu at Solutions is decidedly cheese-centric. Sample the fromage a Raclette, a treat from the Swiss Alps. It’s wheeled over on a bar cart, then melted tableside. Other offerings include bacon mac ‘n cheese and a curried potato sammy.
Solutions’ address is 2220 California St. next door to Woods Boss brewing and diagonally across the street from the Mercury Café. The number for details is 303-653-9183. Browse the menu and the escape choices online at solutionsloungedenver.com.
If my home every morphed into a space this cozy and inviting, I might never leave. Homebody seems the perfect moniker for this new furnishings and home accents venture inside the old Thurston Kitchen space, 2920 E. Sixth Ave.
Billed as “Your Home Away From Home,” Homebody represents the vision of Dory Pratt. She calls it a lifestyle store and draws inspiration from two sources—Barney’s, a shopping mecca in NYC, and artist Georgia O’Keefe.
Elegant accent pieces and furniture at Homebody reflect owner Dory Pratt’s commitment to finding and selling unique items to individualize your home.
Pratt explained, “You know that you are never going to find anything less than the best and something original and authentic when you go to Barney's.”
Regarding her O’Keefe connection, “I'd rather have one beautiful and aesthetically pleasing item than 100 ordinary items,” she added.
With that philosophy firmly in mind, Pratt stepped inside this space and discovered the ideal spot to manifest that vision.
“I feel like I’ve had all this bottled up inside me for years,” she explained.
With friends and acquaintances praising her sense of design, Pratt took the leap. You’ll spot an espresso machine and bar on the west wall and small furniture pieces dotting the space. They include a surprisingly comfy, fuzzy white chair you must try.
This could be the perfect spot to obtain that pop of color your living areas' needs or shop for holiday gifts. Gift wrapping is included in each purchase. There’s no cookie cutter approach here. Pratt is collecting unique merchandise from around the globe. The space and its goods have a unique vibe that underscores Pratt’s decision to gather the uncommon and help you individualize your own home.
“We want you to be able to take home something special: a hand-selected treasure from the Paris flea market; a creation from a small artisan found during our travels; a piece of the hottest jewelry from Greece; a gorgeous Persian carpet; handmade porcelain dishes from Australia; or a different gem entirely chosen from Homebody’s trove of curated treasures.”
If you share Pratt’s conviction that everything you do in life should be done beautifully, stop in. She stocks any product that meets her standards and you’ll never know all that’s in store each week.
“If I see some gorgeous gloves, or a great pair of pajamas, I'll get them. If I find an outstanding food product, I'll stock it.”
Homebody is open Monday-Saturday, 10:00a.m.-6:00p.m. You can get an accurate feel for Pratt’s vision at homebodydenver.com.
GOOMBAS PIZZA GRINDERS
There’s a profound New York flair to Goombas Pizza Grinder’s second eatery in the state. It’s located at 2934 E. Colfax Ave. which a Caribbean bakery occupied for years.
The name alone brings a bushel of questions. What’s a Goomba? What’s a grinder? As a native New Yorker, I didn’t have to ask these questions. I grew up where goomba was once an ethnic slur to describe Italian-Americans with alleged ties to the mob. Common usage now can reference a friend or partner. What I did not know is that most common usage today refers to sentient mushrooms in the Nintendo Super Mario video games.
Grab a slice to go or an entire pie and some cheesecake at Goombas Pizza Grinder, a NY-inspired eatery in the 2900 block of E. Colfax Ave.
Grinders are similar to hoagies or sub sandwiches. Research indicates that Benedetto Capaldo, an Italian shopkeeper in New London, Connecticut, gets credit for the name. The term referred to Italian-American dockworkers who had to grind rusty hulls before repainting.
So what business do a bunch of Colorado natives of Greek heritage have opening a pizza joint? Read the reviews for their first store in Arvada and you’ll see why. It’s been in operation over four years and made a lot of ‘Best’ lists during that tenure.
Game Over (another hat tip to Super Mario Bros.) is one of their most popular sellers. Sausage, pepperoni, red onions, blue and mozzarella cheeses, NY tomato sauce and pesto power this pizza choice. Another top seller is Paulie’s—a pie where Greece meets Italy. Paulie’s is piled with gyro meat, tomatoes, onions, feta, olives, pepperoncini, mozzarella and tzatziki sauce.
Unlike their original store, pizza will be sold by the slice, as well as the full pie here. Slice styles change daily.
If you must look beyond the pizza menu (why would you?), there are a number of entree salads and, of course, those grinders in 8” and 12” lengths. Calzones, cheese bread and desserts round out the menu. For sweets, generous portions of baklava are available along with tiramisu and cheesecake.
“We’re Greek and we like it,” said Nico Papastergiou of the eclectic dessert selections. Brother Yuli would rather talk about the made-to-order concept that Goombas applies to everything, including their salads.
The eatery will launch home delivery in early November. Their number is 720-542-3605 and the full menu can be viewed at goombaspizzagrinder.com.
SNEEKEAZY BAR + KICKS
How’s this for an entertainment concept? A high-end sneaker boutique featuring gear from coveted designers hiding an elegant cocktail lounge. It’s not easy to sum up SneekEazy Bar + Kicks, the new speakeasy located in an expansive loft space on the second level at 1134 Broadway but that’s a beginning.
The same crew owns Element farm to table sports bar at street level and is hard at work on a third Denver venture dubbed Temple, a mega nightclub set to occupy the space due north.
You’ll first spot the sneaker displays, right, then enter the lounge and bar side of SneekEazy.
“There is a lot of crossover between the demographics, but the experience is much different,” said spokesman Andrew Hoey, comparing the two nightspots.
SneekEazy was designed as a relaxing lounge, not a crowded venue. In addition to rotating cocktails crafted from the best fresh ingredients available, SneekEazy also serves up snacks and shares from famed Dallas chef John Tesar until 1:00a.m.
Pool tables, shuffleboard and classic arcade games will help you pass the time if simple relaxation or sneakers aren’t your passion.
“You don’t need to be a sneaker head to come and enjoy the space. This is a great place for a first date, hang out with friends, birthday celebrations, anything and everything in-between. We want it to be very inviting to everyone,” Hoey added.
SneekEazy does believe guests will examine the footwear. “Cinderella is proof that a new pair of shoes can change your life,” they point out.
Accessed via a two-story staircase (there is also a small elevator for ADA compliance), SneekEazy opened October 13 and now operates Wednesday-Sunday 5:00p.m.-2:00a.m. Reservations are offered through sneekeazy.com.
I’ve visited a number of area speakeasies in the past two years. I’ve strolled through a walk-in freezer to access one and down a dark alley to reach another. SneekEazy is a great addition to the genre but I do have to wonder what’s next. How can anyone top these hidden gems we already enjoy. Consider this a challenge!
CAPE HORN COFFEES
A new coffee shop is now open at 308 Clayton St. but it’s not another indie venture battling for a corner of the coffee market in Cherry Creek North (CCN) annually.
This is not a retail operation. Cape Horn is an extension of an Oregon firm that imports and sells green beans to roasters and the shop is open only by appointment.
Local representative Mark Williams has worked extensively in the commodities field. Williams says he’s in CCN for the long run so I expect we’ll hear more about his new operation in the coming months.
There’s already a winter pop-up store open at 180 Clayton Lane adjacent to North restaurant. It’s KJUS, a professional line of ski gear that was carried at Outdoor Divas on East Third Avenue before Diva left Cherry Creek North (CCN).
KJUS features both men’s and women’s gear and it appears this pop-up is well stocked with both.
Owner/pastry chef Emily Hurd wants it all, as her venture’s name indicates. Missing from the title is the creative element but that’s also part of Anecdote’s vision. Hurd wanted an alternative to coffee on the fly—a space to actually think and collaborate.
“Anecdote is designed to foster the creative community and serve as a catalyzing spot for inspiration and collaboration, with refreshments to keep things going! I hope people will find in it a welcoming place to connect and share ideas over Novo coffee or craft cocktails,” she stated.
Anecdote’s vision is an alternative to coffee on the fly—a space to actually think and collaborate.
The business plan includes showcasing featured artists, ways to share projects, special events and workshops to learn new skills. Check out the skill share board that offers the talents of many artists and entrepreneurs. A special events room is also available.
The former Rooster Moon café at 955 Bannock St. has received a long-awaited makeover. Hurd has been waiting too. She moved here two years ago for this opportunity.
“I was running the Pastry Department for the Essex Culinary Resort & Spa in Vermont and specifically moved to Denver to open my own shop,” she said. “I loved Vermont, but wanted to be part of the bigger arts scene Denver offers.”
While building out her new shop, she taught baking and pastry arts for Denver Public Schools, meeting amazing students who could soon become interns at Anecdote.
Construction issues have pushed back the bakery slice of Hurd’s vision but that will get done. Meanwhile, Anecdote serves up quick house-made options and locally sourced nibbles. Smoothies, soft serve ice cream, Novo coffee beverages, wraps and salads are on the menu along with beer, wine and craft cocktails.
“There's even a dog-friendly patio and homemade dog biscuits for sale!” she added.
Hours are Wednesday-Monday, 6:00a.m.-10:00p.m. Tuesdays are reserved for special events.
CLOTH + GOLD
A new Denver startup wants to earn your tablescape business. Yup, that’s a thing.
Cloth + Gold features a curated selection of event planning ‘extras’ to make home entertaining elegant and less stressful.
The company’s website went live in early October. It offers party hosts the chance to rent and return table linens and dishes dirty!
“Far too often, we get caught up in daily living and our online lives that we forget to actually live in the moment and make memories with those we care about,” said founder Bridget Rogers.
Some of her fondest memories were inspired during dinner parties with friends and she wants to share that opportunity with others. She believes you will stress less and party more when your tablescape is planned, crafted and delivered straight to your door.
“We want to create beautiful, celebratory experiences, where people are inspired to put down their phones, pick up their forks and truly connect,” Rogers added.
There are six classic styles plus seasonal additions to consider. Plates, wine glasses, napkins and more are included. If you’re hosting a party of four or 40, Rogers has got you covered.
Check out the options at clothandgold.com. A week’s notice is needed for your event and the company delivers to Boulder as well as Denver.
WAIT JUST A MINUTE…
OK, maybe a bit longer but this pair of new ventures should prove worth the wait! Both are slated to open mid-November so here’s a sneak peek on everything from elephants to punch bowls you need to know.
I’ll have in-depth coverage in our next issue.
BANG UP TO THE ELEPHANT
Yep, that’s the name of Capitol Hill’s newest eatery at 1310 Pearl St. The pale turquoise façade is reminiscent of Miami Beach but you’re still in Denver. That paint job does provide a clue to the company’s business plan—street foods and beverages from the tropics. Think Tiki!
Bang Up To The Elephant is the latest venture from the folks who garnered much acclaim for their Beatrice & Woodsley restaurant at 38 S. Broadway. This space is more casual and one where “an off-course parrot would feel right at home,” the company promises.
PUNCH BOWL STAPLETON
Who can resist checking out this new venture? Those who remember when Stapleton was an airport have been waiting to see the old control tower’s next incarnation. Wait no longer.
Punch Bowl Social will open a second entertainment hall surrounding the old tower. It will feature 15,000 square feet on two levels with six bowling lanes and other games, plus diner foods, craft cocktails and old school entertainment.
Unlike its first location on South Broadway, the new PB Social also boasts ample parking and outdoor games.
My October column stated in this section that Iviva, the division of Lululemon Athletica geared toward younger girls, would be moving back to CCN. That’s incorrect.
In June, headquarters decided to close over 80 percent of its Iviva shops. There is a new kids’ boutique coming to East Second Avenue near SOL Mexican Cocina at Columbine but the name is Skipper & Scout. S&S will reportedly carry a selection of Iviva gear. Details in our December issue.
MEININGER ART MATERIALS
I missed a huge anniversary last year. Yikes! Meininger’s Art Materials at 499 Broadway just wrapped up its 135th year in business and that is not a typo!
Originally located downtown, Meininger’s anchors a stretch of Broadway that is now finding its stride. There’s now a craft brewery and a Korean BBQ across the street and Wizard’s Chest to the store’s south.
Nov. 3-11 marks Denver Arts Week—the ideal time to check out this local gem. Their website is meininger.com. Several classes on screen prints and watercolors will be offered as part of the week’s events.
Clothing shops with staying power all have something I lack—a great eye for design. I may not have one but I do know it when I see it.
Adornments, 2826 E. Third Ave., proves this theory. With its focus on designer women’s wear and accessories, the business has moved around CCN as its success has grown. Adornments just wrapped up Year #20 in business and signed another lease.
An eclectic mix of fabrics and colors predominate at Adornments, a chic women’s wear boutique celebrating 20 years in Cherry Creek North.
Consuelo Diaz and Donna Christopher run the shop for owner Helen Wicker who runs a second one in Santa Fe. Wicker is the main buyer who gives regular customers a lot of thought.
“We do have a loyal following. We actually buy for our customers. We know what they have and what they need,” said Diaz.
“We love color,” added Christoper. “We also have black (garments) but we love color.”
Jewel tones fill the shelves. Just look at all the shades of lavender. Designer labels include Johnny Was, Lisette, Habitat and more.
Adornments is open Monday-Saturday, 10:00a.m.-5:30p.m.; Sundays, noon-4:00p.m. Browse their collection at adornmentsdenver.com. Remember there’s ample, free parking on the west side of the boutique.
DEL FRISCO’S GRILLE
This CCN eatery at 100 Saint Paul St. has slipped into fall with an intriguing menu rewrite. For many joints, fall means adding butternut squash soup but Del Frisco’s is aiming for a more comprehensive approach.
Well known for its steaks, Del Frisco’s Grille has appeal for non-steak eaters, too. Roasted baby beats on a bed of whipped feta cheese or artichoke beignets with sweet basil dressing head up the new fall appetizers.
Fall brings many new offerings to Del Frisco’s Grille in Cherry Creek, including this roasted baby beet salad.
For a hearty entrée, the Grille features pork shanks braised in coffee, seared scallops paired with goat cheese polenta and a whopping 18 oz. bone-in prime rib. There’s also a new Quinn’s Filet burger assembled from ground filet mignon, then topped with Gorgonzola and Gruyere cheeses. Sounds pretty tempting to the burger snob in me.
More wines by the glass will be offered this fall and new labels have been added to the wine cellar. The eatery also offers many Sip ‘n Share plates if you need a nibble to wind down after work. The number for reservations is 720-577-4077. Drool over the new menu additions at delfriscosgrille.com/cherrycreek.
Effective November 6, CCN’s tenured FedEx Kinko’s location at 3032 E. Second Ave. will close for 24 hours to relocate. The new space is just down the block and around the corner at 160 Milwaukee St. and slated to open the following day—Nov. 7.
The shipping and copying store needs to relocate because their old digs are set to undergo a major rebuild. The number will remain 303-322-4261. The business should still be open 24 hours a day.
It’s possible but not guaranteed that the little known, free parking slots behind the old store will be replicated since FedEx is relocating within the same complex.
THAI MONKEY CLUB THAI & SUSHI
Well, that was one long vacation. Thai Monkey at 406 E. Colfax closed last spring with signs that told regulars the eatery would reopen in late August. The lengthy summer hiatus has now officially ended.
The club’s number is still 303-813-1000 and yes, they still offer take out.
WHOLE FOODS CAP HILL
The Capitol Hill location on E. 11th Avenue between Emerson and Ogden Streets will close permanently November 12 as Whole Foods shifts focus to a brand new flagship store on Wewatta Street close to Union Station.
The company, when it announced this closing, indicated that other options for this prime piece of real estate were on the table. There’s no clue yet regarding what those plans might be.
The CCN women’s clothing store at 3003 E. Third Ave. closed on Halloween after a 20-year run. There are no plans to reopen elsewhere.
Their landlord’s desire to double the rent was the first domino to fall. Ongoing construction on the eastern edge of CCN and parking issues also contributed to the final, bittersweet decision.
Just a few weeks ago, the wraps came off Right Start’s remodel on the corner of East Third Ave and Milwaukee Street. Changes unveiled included a new name for the kids’ gear store—Giggle.
Now that company’s advertising a Going Out Of Business sale. It applies in all remaining Giggle stores and is a liquidation sale forced by Giggle’s creditors.
If you were amongst those in CCN expecting something wonderful to emerge after the major remodeling of this location, get shopping because it won’t be here long. If you still have gift cards for the store, those are no longer being honored.
AOB MED SPA
After moving into the new construction at East First Avenue and Steele Street over a year ago, AOB Med Spa closed their latest CCN location after a short stay. One is still open in the Tech Center.
After years in the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, Eddie Bauer moved to new digs on Columbine Street last year. Now that location is shuttered.
The evening eatery that shared space with Black Eye Coffee at 800 Sherman St. closed in mid-September after a short run.
Now the location is available as an evening event space. The a.m. coffee shop is still cranking. Check out drinkblackeye.com.
Opened in the early spring at 955 Lincoln St., Katana Sushi closed some time in September, marking the end of a very short run in the Beauvallon complex. Sadly, this address has been a revolving door for restaurants recently.
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