Corner House closes in Jefferson Park and will become a new restaurant

cornerhouseclosed.jpg
Lori Midson

In early 2013, when Seattle Fish Co. president James Iacino, Matt Selby (now the exec chef of Central Bistro & Bar) and then-partner Scott Kinsey unveiled the Corner House in Jefferson Park, a neighborhood that's slowly turning into a restaurant hamlet, Iacino, who, at the time, lived in a loft above the Corner House, envisioned a restaurant that would give Jefferson Park residents a place to gather among friends. "We really want this to be a community-driven space that responds to the needs of the neighborhood," said Iacino when I interviewed him in January of that year. But on Saturday night, Corner House shuttered.

See also: Sharif Villa Cruz, exec chef of Corner House, on giving Brussels sprouts a break

Leigh Sullivan, the founder of FIVE and Leigh Sullivan Enterprises, a company that does marketing and branding for local food-and-beverage-related companies, became a co-owner of Corner House in November of 2013 after she and her team were originally hired by Iacino to consult on everything from hiring and training staff to building the bar program. "I loved the Corner House, and I really believed that with our leadership and really talented staff that we could turn it around -- plus, I missed being in the restaurant business -- so I became an owner, but the reality is that I was an absentee owner, and the numbers just weren't where we wanted them to be," explains Sullivan.

Selby, who parted ways with Corner House in November, was replaced by chef Sharif Villa Cruz; and Gordon Cresswell, formerly of TAG and Harman's Eat & Drink, was hired as the general manager. "Sharif and Gordon are badasses, and make no mistake: They did a fantastic job, especially considering the inherited a lot of baggage that needed to be fixed," says Sullivan, noting that both employees "have been fairly taken care of with a severance package."

Ultimately, adds Sullivan, "we all wanted to simplify the service and the menu and make it more affordable and neighborly, and we threw everything we had into -- and behind -- it, but it just didn't work." And while she calls the shuttering of Corner House "bittersweet," she admits that her priorities are to her family. "It turns out that I really look forward to coming home to my amazing kid and husband every night, which is hard to do when you're running the day-to-day operations of a restaurant," she admits.

Still, the initial plan, reveals Sullivan, was to close Corner House, re-brand it and open it as an entirely new concept, but "divine intervention," she says, encouraged her to reconsider. "I had a meeting with management to talk about doing a new concept, and the next day, while I was meeting with a local chef about something entirely different, he asked me if I knew of a good restaurant broker, and when I asked him what he was looking for, I knew I had the perfect place," says Sullivan. That chef, who is still under wraps, toured the space, loved what he saw and is currently in the process of taking over Corner House.

"Without giving too much away, I can say that it's an up-and-coming chef with an incredible amount of talent, and I'm super-excited to see this guy fulfill his dreams," says Sullivan. "I'm excited for the neighborhood, I'm excited for him, and he said that he would do our beautiful restaurant proud, and I truly believe that," she concludes.



Location Info

Corner House - CLOSED

2240 Clay St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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25 comments
jeffparky
jeffparky

Sassafras is a breakfast/lunch place, not sure where any comparison over "casual" comes into play for a place that's admittedly yummy, funky and even with its bad coffee still a great place to eat (learn to steam milk, maybe?). That'd be breakfast and lunch.


Corner House WAS a good fit for the "current" Jefferson Park. And something there WILL also be a good fit. For anyone who's not been living in a cave in JeffPark, there's been a "slight" (sarcasm) uptick in building, including the small town known as Element47, and a project on every freaking corner. I don't see that as a good thing, but hate to say it but Corner House and probably more small places like it will fit right in with the type of young folks moving in, as long as they can afford to eat out after paying a small ransom for their rent and a formerly-quiet park view.


The place was hopping for a good year on weekends. The food was pretty good to start, and the front of the house people were actually really quite good. But things started to fall apart. 


My last meal there was two weeks ago. And the waiter corrected me in that oh-so-not-subtle way of repeating back to me "ceviche" but pronouncing it "SUH-VEECH" incorrectly. We had a good laugh over it, until the yellowtail salad arrived with a horribly tiny, stump of a piece of fish on top. The "SUH-VEECH" was not really a true ceviche, and when we saw no chef was in the kitchen, and it was a Saturday night, we knew it would be closing soon. 


My hope is something will succeed there. It's a great location, with a great design and interior and a nice patio. The right staff/menu will make it work. I'd change the name, though, because it sure seems a lot of people were hating it by the end.


truth
truth

Truth is Selby ruined that place from the start and it never had much of a chance after that. He gets a free pass in this city which is funny since he really hasn't done much. He should laser off that ridiculous foie gras tattoo on his knuckles and replace it with overrated.

Ashleigh Ortiz
Ashleigh Ortiz

They didn't have any funds to reimburse which is why they beat around the corner house bush lol

Yvette Ortiz
Yvette Ortiz

Yay! Lol ...karma.. Carlos Umana Ashleigh Ortiz

greg141
greg141

terrible execution.. Selby totally screwed it up.. we all knew it was doomed months ago...

jwindhall
jwindhall

I live 20 steps from this place. Ate here once on a groupon. It's good but it was also really $$$$. When it comes down to it, I'm going to spend that kind of money elsewhere. 

Like someone else said, if they weren't pushing a concept so hard and adapted to the location it would have worked out better. 

TheFabulousMarkT
TheFabulousMarkT topcommenter

If you're that bound-and-determined to turn everything into a "concept", then you can't possibly get that upset when all those who value substance over style don't go stampeding toward your front door.

It's not rocket surgery, people.

rhiannon_in_denver
rhiannon_in_denver

I live in Jefferson Park but was never inclined to visit Corner House.  The menu just wasn't the right fit for the laid-back neighborhood and seem over-ambitious from the start.  Look at Sassafras just a few blocks north that has people lining up for hours..right menu, right location.

WillieStortz
WillieStortz topcommenter

Here is how this should really read:


{Sullivan} We had bad management and a bad location, so we dumped the lease on some unsuspecting fool, but I still get my commission {Sullivan}



Donielle Markel
Donielle Markel

le sigh! cornerhouse, you will be missed. i look forward to seeing what will replace it. big shoes to fill!

davebarnes
davebarnes topcommenter

Renamed to [insert name of mass murderer dictator here]

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve topcommenter

Looks like Matty bailed just in time.

AceRanchero
AceRanchero

The best thing about Element 47 is that it's a Spanos Corp project. Spanos as in owner of the San Diego Chargers Spanos. In the shadow of Mile High Stadium your rent check is paying Mike McCoy and Philip Rivers salaries!

AceRanchero
AceRanchero

The best thing about Element 47 is that it's a Spanos Corp project. Spanos as in owner of the San Diego Chargers Spanos. In the shadow of Mile High Stadium your rent check is paying Philip Rivers salary!

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve topcommenter

You're still drunk.

truthhurts
truthhurts

@Spoonyfork @truth Sullivan spent the last 18 months trying to save corner house from the havoc Selby and crew  started.  This place was doomed and Sullivan and her team did everything they could to keep it open.  Quit blaming the good guys in the restaurant community for trying to make things work even when it's too late.

meanstreetsofsouthdenver
meanstreetsofsouthdenver

@truthhurts @Spoonyfork @truth she has a dedicated and relentless PR apparatus, that's for sure. In her wake there's always somebody else whose fault it all was. If she wants to be home maybe she should take a little vacation from the restaurant biz

Seriously
Seriously

@ScubaSteve @whenpigsfly He "thought" he was a partner...only because he was led to believe so.  Truth is he was screwed from the start.  Those that say Selby screwed this up from the beginning are fools who clearly hadn't been there from the start.  Limited kitchen with a limited budget, despite the access to the best seafood in the industry, are what screwed this up from the start.  I think the real question/correlation that needs to be drawn here is regarding Sullivan.  How long after her involvement did this thing spiral out of control?  Oh yeah, from the beginning.  By the way, can anyone name a successful Leigh Sullivan venture?  Just sayin...

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