Willie G's Seafood & Steaks doesn't seem like a member of the Fertitta chain gang

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J. Wohletz
The 7-Layer Velvet Cake at Willie G's.
When you're sitting on the patio outside Willie G's Seafood & Steaks, watching the uniquely Denver action along the 16th Street Mall and enjoying a happy-hour cocktail and a big slice of chocolate cake from Cake Bubbles in Lakewood, it's easy to forget that you're sitting in a link of a Texas-based chain.

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J. Wohletz
Coconut Shrimp Skewers from the happy hour menu at Willie G's.
After all, this address was an early mainstay on the mall, back in the days when it housed Doc Weed's. In 1997, Landry's turned it into Willie G's -- a link in a chain that the Landry brothers started back in 1981.

There are only three Willie G locations today, but the Landry's empire, which is now headed by Tilman J. Fertitta, is much, much larger than that. Fertitta has apparently been busy as hell conquering the restaurant world since the mid-1980s, scooping up chains like hors d'oeuvres and turning most of them into golden cash cows.

And Feritta owns a fat chunk of restaurant real estate here in Colorado. In addition to Willie G's, there's the Aquarium Restaurant, which Landry's bought when Colorado's Ocean Journey dried up; Bubba Gump Seafood & Shrimp Co downtown (there's also a location in Breckenridge): the Chart House in Golden; Landry's Seafood in Englewood (one in the northern 'burbs closed last year); Saltgrass Steak House spots in Westminster and Parker (there's also one in Colorado Springs); Simms Steakhouse in Golden and Oceanaire Seafood Room downtown.

Late last year, Fertitta also added the McCormick & Schick's restaurants to his portfolio, taking over McCormick's Fish House & Bar in LoDo and McCormick and Schmick's Seafood & Steak in the Denver Tech Center. And he bought the Morton's The Steakhouse chain, closing a Tech Center restaurant but keeping the Morton's in LoDo.

Landry's also owns the Rainforest Cafe, among other ventures, but Denver lost its Rainforest when it closed in the Cherry Creek Shopping Center in 2001.

By our count, Fertitta owns an even dozen restaurants in metro Denver. And Willie G's, at least, is worth a visit -- especially at happy hour, when I recently visited it for this week's review, which will be posted here later today.




Location Info

Willie G's Seafood & Steaks

1585 Lawrence St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Aquarium Restaurant

700 Water St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

1437 California St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Chart House Restaurant

25908 Genesee Trail Rd., Golden, CO

Category: Restaurant

Landry's Seafood Restaurant

7209 S. Clinton St., Englewood, CO

Category: Restaurant

Saltgrass Steak House

19310 E. Cottonwood Drive, Parker, CO

Category: Restaurant

Saltgrass Steak House

8931 Yates St., Westminster, CO

Category: Restaurant

Simms Steakhouse

11911 W. 6th Ave., Golden, CO

Category: Restaurant

Oceanaire Seafood Room

1400 Arapahoe St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

McCormick's Fish House & Bar

1659 Wazee St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Morton's

1710 Wynkoop St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant

8100 E. Union Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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5 comments
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Simms
Simms

It has been a loooong time since I have been to that part of town, but when did the name get changed from Simm's Landing to Simms Steakhouse? SsL was the shit back in the 70s and 80s.

Bgreen
Bgreen

 Landry's is like the anti Midas.  Everything it touches turns to shit.

sal
sal

Hey Jenn, just a footnote. The last restaurant in that location was the Mall Exchange.

geographyman
geographyman

Location...location...the Chart House is in Genesee off I-70; Simm's is in Lakewood at West Sixth Avenue and Simms. Maybe the U.S. Postal Service gave them the Golden tag..

Weege
Weege

really? that place is full of awesome. as in awe, some of my peeps want to go there for a drink.. and we all vote them down.. aaaand dont eat the oysters. yuck..

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