8 Rivers will dry up in LoDo this weekend

durrahandpot.jpg
Anthony Camera
Scott Durrah and one of his favorite ingredients.
At the end of service on Saturday, October 29, 8 Rivers Modern Caribbean Restaurant will close the doors for good at 1550 Blake Street, its third location -- but not its last.

After opening their first restaurant, the Jamaican Cafe, in Santa Monica, California, chef Scott Durrah and his wife, Wanda James, moved to Colorado and opened the original 8 Rivers in Rock Creek, outside of Boulder, in 2005. The next year, they moved the restaurant to Highland Square, to a spot that's now home to Venue . And three years ago, they moved 8 Rivers to the heart of LoDo, to the 1500 block of Blake Street that's seen a lot of restaurant action -- but also has high rents, inspiring the couple to look for "more equitable space," James says.

And so the 8 Rivers in LoDo is drying up.

Even though they've gotten very involved in the medical marijuana edibles business (read William Breathes's cover story on Scott Durrah's pot-cooking classes here), the couple definitely isn't giving up on restaurants. "Everything is good," promises James. "Jerk chicken will always be on the menu. There will be another 8 Rivers. Chef Scott loves what we do, loves Denver, and can't wait to get the customers in the new place..."

Make that new places, because the couple is looking at opening a second restaurant concept in addition to the revived 8 Rivers. A deal could be sealed on at least one of those ventures as early as November 1.

In the meantime, the restaurant closed Tuesday night for a staff party, and the annual 8 Rivers celebration of Bob Marley's birthday this weekend will go on as planned -- though with perhaps a little more poignance than usual. "Closing a restaurant is like saying goodbye to a good friend," says Durrah.

A version of this story was included in yesterday's Cafe Bites, our weekly restaurant e-mail newsletter. To subcribe, sign up here.



Location Info

Venue

Map

8 Rivers Cafe - CLOSED

1550 Blake St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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8 comments
JamLawSny
JamLawSny

Yup, Scott and Wanda are horrible business owners. I've seen them treat their employees like dirt. Also the smile and chuckle to anyone's face who gives them business and immediately turn around and bad-mouth them. Terrible people. If they left Denver, they would not be missed.

guest
guest

Had the owners chosen to run a kitchen and not a political message board, we'd had continue to go there.

They had every right to voice their views, just as we had every right to choose to stop giving them business.

Mark
Mark

I dont know if you all got an off nite but this is the best chicken i have ever had in my entire life

Colelewis3620
Colelewis3620

Couldn't agree more. One of the worst restaurants I have experienced in the downtown area. And, "very involved in the medical marijuana edibles business"..... Bunch of bologna. They ran that endeavor into the ground as well as a dispensary they opened together that they suckered someone in to purchasing just before it went under. Who in the world would fund another biz that Wanda or Scott has ANYTHING to do with? But Patty, you sure seem enamored with these two pseudo business people. Guess bad business and muckraking go hand in hand.

Guest
Guest

They own Simply Pure edibles and they both have been very invovled with the MMJ biz.  They haven't owned a dispensary for over a year.  As for 8 Rivers, one of my favorite places and the only place in Denver to learn and try over 80 rums.

I have known both of them for many years and I enjoy what they do both at Simply Pure and at 8 Rivers.  Sorry to see it see close.

cussin celiac
cussin celiac

for the record these people are ignorant about Gluten Free cooking despite the server's claims, and provided my girlfriend a night of agony the one time we ate there... Buh bye... 

Uncledave8
Uncledave8

Totally agree with TonyJ - had the worst meal I've ever had was there.  Thank God the bartender was competent because somebody was smoking too much somethin' in the kitchen - horrible.

TonyJ
TonyJ

This is not a loss.  There are so many great restaurants in LoDo and this place simply didn't measure up.  It wasn't any good when it was in Rock Creek, it wasn't any good when it was in the Highlands, and it wasn't any good in LoDo.  For the third time (in Colorado), all this couple is serving up are excuses about why yet ANOTHER of their locations failed.

Who keeps investing in these people?

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