Vance Johnson moves from Three Amigos to two restaurants

Categories: Word of Mouth

Vance Johnson, one of the Three Amigos on the Denver Broncos in the late '80s, is about to open his second restaurant on the Western Slope. He already has VJ's Outlaw Ribs in Parachute, the town where he now lives. And soon he'll open Vance's Epicurious in Grand Junction.

Vance's Epicurious will be going into 115 West Grand Avenue, in the former home of a Grand Junction Smashburger -- the second Smashburger to close in that town.

Which could mean that Grand Junction is the only place where Smashburger hasn't been a smash.

But Johnson definitely expects Epicurious to be a hit. He told the Grand Junction Free Press that while the place may have a sports theme, it won't be a sports bar. Instead, it will serve a curious range of dishes, everything from burgers named after every team in the AFC West to East Coast-style pizza, fish tacos and barbecue from his Parachute joint.

This makes Johnson the second-most successful former Bronco restaurateur. The first, of course, is John Elway, who has three namesake restaurants -- the original Elway's Cherry Creek, a second downtown, a third in Vail -- and one going into Denver International Airport.

Former Broncos coach Mike Shanahan may be gone from Denver, but he still has Shanahan's in the Denver Tech Center.

And while Winston Hill's Ribs & Stuff in Centennial has a pro pedigree, Winston Hill never played for the Broncos. He spent his entire career with the New York Jets, except for three final games with the Los Angeles Rams.

Location Info

Elway's Cherry Creek

2500 E. 1st Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Winston Hill's Ribs & Stuff

5090 E. Arapahoe Road, Centennial, CO

Category: Restaurant

Vance's Epicurious

115 W. Grand Ave., Grand Junction, CO

Category: Restaurant

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Parachute? There is nothing but double-wides out there. Vance musta hit rock bottom, I thought he'd be by Elway in Cherry Hills in a gated community of 2-5 million dollar homes.


I must disagree, here--had a 4-hour bus layover there years and years ago and got absolutely hamboned with a local sports radio guy. Great time. Trip back to Denver was kinda sucky, though.


"Which could mean that Grand Junction is the only place where Smashburger hasn't been a smash." Hell, the town of Grand Junction isn't even a good place to get smashed.


I was sure former CU Buff and Denver Bronco Alfred Williams owned the Applebee's chain. Otherwise, I don't understand how he can be so excited about the food in those radio commercials.

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