The Squeaky Bean will close on June 12, reopen as a new bar in July and sprout a new restaurant later this year

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Lori Midson
While the pipsqueaks at the Squeaky Bean have spent the last few weeks monkeying around -- pilfering pigs, for example -- this past year hasn't exactly been a playful wallow in the mud for owners Johnny Ballen and Josh Olsen, executive chef Max MacKissock, bar manager Sean Kenyon and the rest of the Bean staffers.

Since day one, MacKissock has been sequestered in a kitchen the size of a shot of whiskey, cooking his ass off without the benefit of the bare basics -- a hood, for instance. And considering the extraordinary caliber of food that MacKissock turns out, using little more than a few induction burners and convection ovens, that's a miracle unduplicated, especially in this new world of flashy kitchens outfitted with the latest and greatest equipment.

And MacKissock was under the assumption that soon, he, too, would get a state-of-the-art cooking laboratory (or at least one with a hood) where he -- and his dishes -- could continue to evolve. That was the plan, anyway, since he, Ballen and Olsen had been negotiating for months with the owners of Rosa Linda's, their next door neighbor and landlord, to expand the kitchen and dining room, and extend their lease agreement. But the owners -- the Aguirre family -- balked.

"These negotiations have come to an unfortunate close, as our landlords have declined our lease extension, ultimately forcing us to abandon our current culinary program within the Rosa Linda's building," says general manager Stephen Gallic. "In exchange for an extended lease at a fixed per/square foot rate, The Squeaky Bean intended to invest approximately $300,000 in improvements to their space, but their unwillingness to sign the lease has made this intended investment both impractical and non-reciprocal," he adds.

And because of that, the Squeaky Bean's growth has been stunted, and on Sunday, June 12, after brunch service, the Bean as we know it, will shutter. That's the bad news. But the rest of it is all good.

After a series of aesthetic changes -- a new color scheme, the addition of booths, and an expanded bar -- The Bean will reopen around July 8 as the Occidental, a loungey watering hole that will emphasize Kenyon's clever cocktail program. "We're still going to be goofy and fun, like the Bean, but we're changing the concept pretty drastically, so that it focuses almost entirely on Sean and his cocktails," says MacKissock, whose menu will change, too. "We'll be doing lots of charcuterie, oysters, housemade terrines and pâtés, some vegetarian offerings from our garden and the farm, and a lot of different caviars matched with vodkas," he explains, adding that the new menu "will be easier to execute in the current space and kitchen restraints."

In addition, the new bar, which will serve grub until midnight and pour booze until 2 a.m., will offer a daily happy hour, from 4 to 7 p.m., that will trumpet, says MacKissock, "really awesome cocktails, including some crazy punches, as well as a couple of fun food specials." The goal, adds MacKissock, "is to be a really cool cocktail bar with really cool snacks."

As for Squeaky Bean -- the restaurant -- MacKissock and Ballen are currently hunting for another address to resurrect it. "We would have loved nothing more than to stay in this space and remain the Squeaky Bean, but that's not going to happen, so we're looking very hard for a new space, bumping around town, and searching high and low for something new," he says. "We're super motivated, and want to get this done as quickly as possible, but we also want to make sure we choose the right space."

In the meantime, notes MacKissock, "we have an incredible staff who we want to keep together, and when Occidental opens, it's going to be amazing and a great opportunity for Sean, even if we are taking away the Farrah Fawcett photos."

MacKissock promises, however, that Farrah will reemerge in the new location. "When we reopen, it's definitely going to be the Squeaky Bean -- Farrah and all."

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Location Info

Squeaky Bean - CLOSED

3301 Tejon St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant


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23 comments
Richardglenn
Richardglenn

Being a "Native" of the "Highlands" (The Northside) I have seen Rosa Lindas have little success with innovative thinking over and over. I own several "Choice" locations in and around the general area. I will be looking into maybe opening  a new restaurant/bar real soon.

Rick C

Trocoman
Trocoman

Take over the Brasserie Felix space on Tennyson.  They close today at the end of service...

Todd
Todd

Johnny/John/Max/Sean:

Too bad to hear about the news.  I just left a message for you on the Squeaky Bean voicemail as I was trying to reach you about a new retail marketplace looking for a chef-inspired restaurant before I knew the Bean was changing things up.

Please get back to me to discuss a very unique retail marketplace currently under development that will have a variety of food and retailers under one roof in an open marketplace environment.  We've already discussed/toured with some of your peers who also cook up some of the best food in Denver.

Toddtsnyder@locusplaces.com720-515-5045

Washparkgal
Washparkgal

Dear Squeaky Bean....We have a $60.00 gift cert. that we have been unable to use.  We tried again on Tues, 6/14 to find that you were closed.  I hope that we are able to use it at your new digs....we were looking forward to trying your food!   I believe it is gift cert. #94.  ;-)  Thanks!   Linda

Barela_grace
Barela_grace

Will the staff still ignore us if we walk in at 11 o'clock on a Saturday night to have a cocktail?? Haven't been in there since that happened last summer. Was a little hurt followed by being pissed off. So much for wanting to support our neighborhood businesses.

Brian
Brian

Sad about Squeaky's demise but am looking forward to the Occidental and Squeaky's resurrection! I agree completely, I've never really liked Rosa Linda's but supported them as a neighborhood business. That support is now gone. 

mg
mg

Please bring the Bean to Baker!  

Joey B
Joey B

Yay, one more reason to dislike Rosa Lindas.  

Excited to see what's next for you Squeaky guys.

Nic
Nic

Going to miss you while you're gone Bean--we had some good times and I hope you reappear sometime soon! LOVE the food--it will be missed.

davebarnes
davebarnes

Sad.I don't want "clever cocktails". I just want $2.50 Coors. Even better would be $2 PBRs.And, good food. I loved their croque madame.

DC
DC

Yes! Come to Tennyson and take over the old Felix spot.  Great location, great neighborhood and still in the Highlands! 

Andy
Andy

Not a bad idea.

M.J. Beerline
M.J. Beerline

Is that so? If that's true, for the better. Tried that place once and once only. Poor service, below average food and they didn't have half their menu! Hope you guys (SB) find a new place in the Highlands!

Brian
Brian

So the people from Rosa Linda said in response to a comment I made on their FB page, that they thought they were still negotiating with Squeaky and that they're sad to see them go.

Popple
Popple

I don't understand the Aguirre family's approach to business...having a busy restaurant next door should be GOOD for Rosa Linda's.  Having a busy/popular/successful ANYTHING next door is good for any restaurant...and as the Landlord, they should be SUPPORTING a good tenant in their ambitions by allowing them to invest in the space=STABILITY!  They had a string of businesses in that space that closed at 2pm...including Lucia's coffee shop.  It's almost as if they are trying to impede their corner tenent because they see them as a Rosa Linda competitor instead of the business partner and valuable asset to the property that they are.

Seankenyon13
Seankenyon13

Don't worry Dave, we will still have great food, $2 coors cans AND Pisco Sours with Persian limes... See you soon...

Cheers,

Sean

Popple
Popple

...and Rosa Linda's should consider changing their fryer oil more regularly--getting a good meal there is a crap-shoot.  Chile Verde is only 2 blocks away and they cook like they care.

5280MAN
5280MAN

Sean,There are several great spaces here in 5Points/Welton!  You could be the a true pioneer in our neighborhood.Think about it please...

Andy
Andy

Agreed on the fry oil... as well as most other stuff on their menu. Irony here may be the one time I found myself at Rosa Linda's after Squeaky Bean's arrival was the time SB had too long of a wait. Went next door to Rosa Linda's and got bad service because they couldn't deal with all the other overflow. They were packed, but could only give their neighborhood regulars the time of day. Maybe RL just wants a sleepy old corner with their crusties in residence. Tired and Lazy is what I'd call it.

Carly
Carly

I concure with 5280MAN.  Although, a coworker was telling me that a primary school on Welton is the reason no new restaurants/bars have been able to move into the empty spaces on Welton.  They're unable to get a liquor license.

That said, Five Points is a big neighborhood and it's changing quickly.  There are tons of great vacant spaces and we would definitely be regulars.

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