Tamayo, Richard Sandoval's Larimer Square restaurant, closes for colossal renovations

Lori Midson
Tamayo, in Larimer Square, will reopen February 1 with a new look.

When Tamayo, chef Richard Sandoval's modern Mexican restaurant, opened in Larimer Square in 2001, it was easily one of the most innovative design schemes -- and food concepts -- on what has now become one of the city's liveliest blocks for a dose of culinary artistry. But while the majority of the restaurants on Larimer Square have kept up with a fickle public that demands ingenuity and creativity in both design and cuisine, Tamayo, just one restaurant in Sandoval's kingdom of many throughout the state, has endured more than a decade without much change.

But the restaurant, which closed last night after dinner service, will undergo a colossal remodel and menu overhaul between now and Friday, February 1, when it will reopen to the public.

See also:
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"It's been twelve years since we opened, and we recognize that we're not where we want to be -- that the restaurants on Larimer Square are so beautiful and we're not at that standard. Larimer isn't aging with us," admits Bob Bonner, the director of operations for all of Sandoval's Colorado restaurants.

The plan to remodel Tamayo has been in the works for months -- Sandoval, whom I interviewed last August for my weekly Chef and Tell, alluded to it -- and today, says Bonner, the renovations will begin to come to fruition.

The multi-tiered space, which flaunts one of the city's most amazing rooftop patios, complete with epic views of the Rocky Mountains, will be "high-design," says Bonner and "completely modernized." Semple Brown Design, the local firm that's also responsible for the aesthetics at the Squeaky Bean, Marco's Coal-Fired Pizza, The Kitchen, Euclid Hall, Root Down and Coohills, is spearheading the redesign, and, says Bonner, one of the most alluring elements of the scheme is lighting.

"One of the coolest aspects of the space will definitely be the very creative pieces we're using for lighting," he notes, adding that the pieces they chose "completely blew the budget." Still, he says, it was worth the bank account punch. "These are pieces that make you look up in awe when you look at them," especially, he says, the custom-made octopus arm chandelier, its amber glow casting illumination over the new lounge, which will be bedecked with plump chairs, multi-hued Mexican tiles and all dark woods, the latter of which will be paramount throughout the restaurant.

In addition, reveals Bonner, oak floors will replace the existing carpet throughout the space; many of the tables in the main dining room will be replaced by Chicago-style -- C-shaped -- booths upholstered in fabric; the starchy white tablecloths will disappear (thankfully); the bathrooms will get a new look; leather-work will also be prevalent in various accents; and the rooftop terrace, which is also getting new furnishings and an upgraded bar, will now become a four-season gathering place, thanks to the installation of a temperature-controlled heating system.

Location Info


1400 Larimer St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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How about a food and ESPECIALLY a service makeover as well?  Oh yeah, Sandoval doesn't actually care.

ScubaSteve topcommenter

It's been ten years or so since I've been to Tamayo.  I thought the place was long gone.  I remember, however, that the appetizer of guacomole and chips was enough for a meal for two people.  I'll visit when it reopens.

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