El Chile Rojo will be replaced by a sushi spot on Santa Fe Drive

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Talk about a sign of the times: El Chile Rojo has closed at 801 Santa Fe Drive, with a sign in the window announcing "Japanese sushi restaurant coming soon."

Back in December 2008, when United Airlines' Hemispheres magazine devoted its "Three Perfect Days" feature to Denver, most of the restaurant/bar picks were the usual suspects -- Duo, the Cruise Room, the Lodge at Sunspot (while skiing at Winter Park), Fruition (after surviving skiing at Winter Park) -- with a few more slightly out-there spots: Snooze (for breakfast), MCA Cafe (while visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art) and Limelight Supper Club (a snack after the theater).

The one surprise on the list? El Chile Rojo, a colorful, family-owned spot just up the street from both El Noa Noa and El Taco de Mexico.

But now El Chile Rojo has been grounded, and sushi will be taking its spot on rapidly gentrying Santa Fe Drive, once the heart of this town's Latino community.

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