Old Chicago will close its longtime Denver flagship on Market Street next week

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Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom on Market Street, which was one of the first places to serve microbrews in downtown Denver and has acted as the unofficial gateway to LoDo since 1992, will close its doors on March 29.

The company, owned by Tennessee-based Craftworks Restaurants since 2010, is looking for another, smaller location in the neighborhood that will better suit the rebranded look that the chain implemented last year at its restaurants nationwide.

See also: Old Chicago adds new words to its name and dishes to its menu: Try its five-foot pie today!

A spokesman for Craftworks didn't return a call seeking comment, but employees at the restaurant confirmed that the location will close a week from Saturday.

The two-story, 6,000-square-foot building is owned by a holding company managed by Evan Makovsky, who is also the co-owner of Shames Makovsky real estate company.

Dorit Makovsky Fischer, a broker at the firm, is looking for new tenants for the building, which includes wide-open spaces upstairs that could be used for offices. There is also a 2,000-square-foot attached building that Old Chicago used for special events.

"It's a big space. We don't see restaurants of that size very often," she says. "But it's a great location...the entry to downtown Denver and we believe there could be some great uses. We really want to think outside the box. It could be pretty cool."

Shames Makovsky has already received interest from other restaurant operators.

"We'll miss Old Chicago," she adds. "But this is an opportunity for the city and for Market Street to do something great there."

A real estate agent representing Old Chicago didn't return a phone call seeking comment about where the chain might want to open a new location nearby.

Old Chicago was founded by restaurant entrepreneur Frank Day, who opened the first location in Boulder in 1976; Day also founded the Rock Bottom brewery chain in Colorado. Both brands are now owned by Craftworks.




Location Info

Old Chicago - CLOSED

1415 Market St., Denver, CO

Category: Music


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71 comments
LeahA
LeahA

I will miss it simply because of the pizza. That is the best thing about Old Chicago. That and that I can get a decent beer with my meal. I absolutely love Falling Rock and Freshcraft, but neither of them have pizza. Pizza is important to me! :)

avs1cup
avs1cup

Stupid.  Giving up that space of prime real estate will prove to be a very bad idea.

NoBoBear
NoBoBear

Was an unique concept when they first opened, all the different beers, but with others jumping onto the craft beer wagon, and with Old Chicago's plans for becoming a beer and pizza equivalent of Chili's et al, they really watered down their brand. As others have mentioned, the food quality bottomed out (got better under Gordon Biersch), and with the beer selection being driven by corporate buyers, the beer selection is pretty unremarkable, especially in light of places like Falling Rock, Backcountry, World of Beer, etc. Most "mom and pop" places have more interesting craft beer selections than what Old Chicago pushes.


Won't miss. If I'm downtown, many other options out there for food and or beer. Even in a town out-of-state, I'd rather try a local restaurant than go to an Old Chicago. Old Chicago is like a Chili's, place to eat of last resort (ie. only place open).

Todd McManus
Todd McManus

Yeah, it's a bummer. Never really understood how the could afford the lease in the first place after they stopped opening the back bar...

revelinitfb
revelinitfb

Sadly, it's a corporate chain now.  They've taken the original soul out of the place and rebranded it for America.  I wish them luck, but I'm sure that location wasnt generating the margins to support so much square footage.   The brand won't go away, and maybe the revamp will boost their business.  I like the new food and "vibe" of the restaurant.  But, it's been "Red Lobster'd" into blandness. 

Izzy Dominguez
Izzy Dominguez

haha.. that sucks, bro. honestly, it wouldn't be the same without you.. I'd just rather not go at all.

Thomas Abebe
Thomas Abebe

dame i can't even go UA that day have duty.......make sure you say goodbye for me

Thomas Abebe
Thomas Abebe

yo shipmate do you know when exactly they are shutting down? am really sad my fav place is shutting down i had so much fun in that place with Liz, Erin R, Erin D, Adam, Natalya, and of course can't forget about my brother and my shipmate IZZY. Salute to the good times.....

Robert Hack
Robert Hack

The food at Old Chicago reminds me of the over priced, bland food you buy at sporting events; and their beers aren't all that either. Who needs this place when you have Falling Rock Tap House?

Charles Vail Pankey
Charles Vail Pankey

That place sucks. Too bad it will probably be replaced with a place that suck equally. #lodo

Alfredo Abad Jr.
Alfredo Abad Jr.

yeah, but on the bright side, it might be locally owned!

Justin Day
Justin Day

No shit wonder what will go there

Morgan Yelle
Morgan Yelle

Yeah, just ask when it's not busy and we'll pull it down for you.

Tracy Finklang
Tracy Finklang

watching it be chipped away is hard for those of us who built it. Sad.

Alex Gaeta
Alex Gaeta

it's what they get for getting rid of their happy hour

Shane Kennedy
Shane Kennedy

yea me too....worked at Calvins hung out there and market st café good times!

Jeremy Evans
Jeremy Evans

Make way for another "bro" bar. ^^^^^ special cause he's from Chicago....

Shaun Kukla
Shaun Kukla

Old Chicago is no Chicago at all. That food doesn't even compare, just saying coming from a Chicago native

Pancho Garcia
Pancho Garcia

Bummer, that shit was the bomb in '92. In Fort Collins anyway.

Monte Aaron
Monte Aaron

Student discount to Auraria made it worth it back in the day. Can I come pry my name off the beer tour wall?

PourHouse PubDenver
PourHouse PubDenver

Rumor has it that Oskar Blues will be opening a brew house there to join us on the street. The Real Bar Coalition is growing stronger!

Ben Beeby
Ben Beeby

My friends and I came of drinking age around the time that opened. We grew up in Adams County and did not really spend a lot of time in what would become Lodo. That Old Chicago became a gateway to places like Modeans, Soapy Smiths, Rock Bottom for us. I for one will always have great memories of Old Chicago Market St and the early 1990s in Lodo.

Dan Guaydacan
Dan Guaydacan

How about another coke bar and more late night fights on that block.

Izzy Dominguez
Izzy Dominguez

Thomas Abebe they're shutting down our old spot. =/

Steve Santus
Steve Santus

Studied thru two degrees at that bar. Will have to go back for one more.

Tami Davies
Tami Davies

Agreed. Great spot to watch ensuing Denver hilarity.

Jason Christopher Scholz
Jason Christopher Scholz

finally...I will say I spent the night drinking there on 9-11...our gig got cancelled that night....

Matt Quast
Matt Quast

I enjoyed so many post-mammoth games with friends sitting in there by the window watching all the douche bag guys and these ridiculous girls parade around Lodo giving us tons of laughs.

Jake Hughes
Jake Hughes

Damnit!..stop renovating that hood! Yea the pie was iffy dependant on cooks but the BEER.

Legen Dairy
Legen Dairy

Clark Harding we had good times by this ol Chicago lol

LeahA
LeahA

@avs1cup Their e-mail said they couldn't reach an agreement with the landlords, so it doesn't sound like it was their choice; they probably couldn't afford to keep the space any longer.

milleralexjames
milleralexjames

Don't worry, as a Mammoth fan they were laughing right back at you.

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