BurgerFi, a "better burger" joint, will open on Broadway

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Lori Midson

When will the mooing stop? Anyone who lives in Denver, around Denver, even miles from Denver, knows that the last thing this city needs is another burger barn, but that's not stopping cattle herders from other cities from stampeding our stamping grounds with the next latest and greatest burger mania concept. In fact, it won't be long before we're well and truly BurgerFi'ed...by way of Florida.

See also: Reader: "Gourmet" burgers are overpriced disappointments

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First look: Mile High Italian Deli opens in Highland

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All photos by Lori Midson.

The concept behind Mile High Italian Deli, a small, 800-square-foot storefront in Highland, is sandwiches, panini, salads, and, on Saturday, pizzas, the latter of which is an extension of Mile High Pizza Pie, a pizza joint that rose -- and fell -- downtown, after the landlord threatened to raise the rent through the roof. That increase in dough resulted in owner Howard Ellis selling the spot in September of last year following a four-year run -- and inking a lease on the former In Season Local Market, which he operates with business partner Dino Marchig, whose grandmother owns the space, along with Cebiche next door.

See also: LYFE Kitchen -- where everything is under 600 calories -- opening in Park Meadows

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Croc's Mexican Grill closes in LoDo

The former home of Croc's Mexican Grill is now for lease.
Long before Coors Field opened in 1995, one of the first blocks of LoDo to be renovated was a line of turn-of-the-last century brick buildings along the1600 block of Market Street, which attracted pioneering restaurants like Brendle's, the Manhattan Cafe, Ivory's and Alexander Graham Bell's. Those were replaced by next generation spots: Brendan's (which moved out a decade ago, and is now at 404 Broadway, Sonoda's and Croc's Mexican Grill. But after almost two decades, Sonoda's dried up in February, and now Croc's Mexican Grill has closed, too.

See also: Our Drunk of the Week goes to Croc's Mexican Grill

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LYFE Kitchen -- where everything is under 600 calories -- opening in Park Meadows

Lori Midson

When I was in my late twenties and early thirties, I avoided eating meat. The reasons why aren't important, but looking back on that phase, I wish I'd chosen a different time in my life to go meat-free, because I was living in Chicago, where militant vegetarians were few and far between. This isn't to say that I ate particularly healthy. In fact, on my way to work each morning, my must-have habit was an egg McMuffin -- just egg and cheese -- from McDonald's. And sometimes, a hash brown. My metabolism was much better then; I was skinny -- super-skinny -- but I was still eating junk.

During those years, there was no True Food Kitchen or Native Foods Cafe, no Chipotle or Maoz Vegetarian, and certainly nothing like LYFE Kitchen (the acronym stands for "Love Your Food Everyday"), a restaurant that opened its first store late last year in, coincidentally, Chicago. And in mid-June, as part of an ambitious growth spurt that will spawn 250 locations nationwide over the next five years, LYFE Kitchen will open in Park Meadows Mall, in the space vacated by California Cafe.

The owners-operators of that location? Rachel and DJ Mitchell, a married couple who grew up together in Chicago and worked for McDonalds and McDonald's Corporation.

See also: After fourteen years, Noboru Muraishi closes Oshima Ramen

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Sexy Pizza opens third location in Jefferson Park

Sexy Pizza in Jefferson Park.
Just in time for 4/20, a third Sexy Pizza has opened in Denver -- this one in Jefferson Park, at 2460 Elliott Street, right across the street from the new Jefferson Park Pub and what will one day be the home of Brian Laird's Sarto.

See also:
Kayvan Khalatbari bankrolls comedy with pot and pizza

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Duffeyroll Cafe is on a roll, with a new store off the 16th Street Mall

Duffeyroll Cafe, a Denver institution for close to three decades that's renowned for its cinnamon rolls, is opening its fourth Denver location at 16th and Blake streets today.

See also: Attivo Pizza & Subs moves out of the Beauvallon

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Attivo Pizza & Subs moves out of the Beauvallon

Has the Beauvallon curse hit again? Attivo Pizza & Subs, a popular spot that was home of the "Pancho Villo Sub," moved across and up Lincoln Street almost two years ago, to a spot in the swanky Beauvallon. And the owners announced plans to turn the original Arrivo space into a Mexican joint, Attivo Libre. But now the Attivo location in the Beauvallon is closed and covered with paper; one is a notice that Attivo is back in its first location at 124 East Ninth Avenue.

See also:
Attivo Pizza & Subs moves into the Beauvallon

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After fourteen years, Noboru Muraishi closes Oshima Ramen

Lori Midson
After fifteen years, Noboru Muraishi closes Oshima Ramen.

In 2004, four years after Oshima Ramen, a Japanese noodle shop, opened on Hampden, then-Westword restaurant critic Jason Sheehan made us all aware of how lucky we were to have Oshima -- part of a chain of ramen noodle shops that started in Japan -- in a city that was still enamored with the french fries at McDonald's. "We're very lucky," he wrote. "As a matter of fact, we're the luckiest people in the whole USA, because this small, unprepossessing and virtually invisible spot squashed into Tiffany Plaza is the only Oshima Ramen in America."

Sheehan, who's now writing about food for Philadelphia magazine, would, if he were still here, be drowning his sorrows in a cheap bottle of whiskey, because Oshima Ramen, where Sheehan claims to have found "religion in the chaisu ramen," has dried up.

See also: Finding My Religion

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First look: Le Rendez Vous opens in Cherry Creek

All photos by Lori Midson.

It's been fifteen years since Olga moved to Denver from Russia and began a career as an accountant. But the grind of crunching numbers all day, plus working for other people, she says, wasn't giving her the fulfillment she was looking for. "I was a CPA and working in the corporate world, but I dreamed of working for myself and doing something unique -- something that lent itself to spending time with friends and having a good time," she notes. And late last week, on Friday, that dream became a reality when she opened Le Rendez Vous, a restaurant and Champagne lounge in Cherry Creek.

See also: First look: A charming new Maria Empanada opens on South Broadway

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First look: A charming new Maria Empanada opens on South Broadway

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All photos by Lori Midson.

It's normal for a restaurant owner to be nervous on opening day -- even if it's not your first rodeo and you've assembled an experienced staff. There's often chaos, flared tempers and a general reaction of palpable fretfulness. But this morning, at the new Maria Empanada, the vibe was pure joy. Five minutes before opening the doors at 11 a.m., owner Lorena Cantarovici gathered her staff in a circle, wiped the tears from her eyes and quietly thanked her staff (more times than most of us get thanked in a week) for "creating a little bit of Argentina on South Broadway."

See also: Maria Empanada relocating to the former Buffalo Doughboy space

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