Puerto Rico 5280 — And Every Other Restaurant Opening and Closing This Week

Combine the bold colors and flavors of Puerto Rico with the Colorado lifestyle and you have Puerto Rico 5280, the new restaurant and club from the owners of El Coqui D'aqui, which closed earlier this year on South Colorado Boulevard so that Alex and Diana Rivera could move their establishment into a bigger location. Now with enough room for live music, DJs and dancing, Puerto Rico 5280 also has a full bar with multiple tap handles and Caribbean cocktails. Although the former tenant at 3109 South Federal Boulevard, Brewshine BBQ, didn't last long, the Riveras have built up a loyal following of fellow transplants who drive from all over the region to eat Puerto Rican cuisine and, now, to dance the night away.

The rest of the week also welcomed Chow Morso Osteria, the second restaurant from the team behind Barolo Grill; Squared Pizza + Beer, a combination Detroit-style pizzeria and taproom for Boulder Beer; and Zig Zag Smokin' Burger, the replacement for Gunther Toody's from the same company.

The Old Spaghetti Factory is winding down its long tenure downtown. Lunches have already ceased, and the eatery will close for good after dinner on Sunday, September 16. Fans can still find the same food and old-timey atmosphere at the company's Westminster branch at 9145 Sheridan Boulevard.

Here's our complete list of restaurant and bar openings and closings for the week of September 10-16, 2108, plus links to our coverage of recent and upcoming debuts and shutters:

Restaurants and Bars Opening This Week*
Albasha Grill, 2260 South Quebec Street
Chow Morso Osteria, 1500 Wynkoop Street
Happy Cafe, 945 South Federal Boulevard
Puerto Rico 5280, 3109 Federal Boulevard
Squared Pizza + Beer, 1123 Walnut Street, Boulder
Zig Zag Smokin' Burger, 9220 East Arapahoe Road, Greenwood Village

Restaurants and Bars Closing This Week*
Old Spaghetti Factory (Sunday), 1215 18th Street
Thai Street Food, 11650 Montview Boulevard, Aurora

*Or earlier, and not previously reported.

Keep reading for our coverage of recent openings and closings.


Boulder Beer on Walnut to adopt new pizza concept

Frank Day, founder of the original Old Chicago in Boulder, remains the owner and Boulder Beer Co. will continue to run a seven-barrel brewing operation at Squared Pizza + Beer.

"We've been consulting and facilitating the brewing side," Boulder Beer president Jeff Brown. "The restaurant will still provide an opportunity for small-batch research and development for the brewery."

Boulder Beer's primary brewery and pub location at 2880 Wilderness Place will not be affected by the changes at the Walnut Street establishment. 

Boulder Beer on Walnut will close Tuesday to allow for kitchen modifications and decor changes, according to Brown. Squared Pizza + Beer is expected to open Sept. 10.

This will be the second time in less than two years that  major changes have occurred at the 1123 Walnut St. location.

In May 2017, Day took ownership of the Walnut Brewery from Tennessee-based CraftWorks Restaurants & Brewery Group. He partnered with Brown and renamed it Boulder Beer.

"As we continue to develop the concept, we really wanted to look at some different menu and food ideas," Brown said.

The idea to build the menu around Detroit-style pizza "is something that has kind of taken shape and evolved over the last year," he said.

Dearborn, Mich., native Gina Day, Frank Day's wife and a co-owner of Boulder Beer Co., grew up eating Detroit-style pizza. 

Typically, Detroit-style pizza is baked in a square pan and served in square slices. 

While it also has thick crust, Detroit-style pizza is "not as heavy and chewy as a Chicago style," said Tom Lund, Squared Pizza + Beer planning and development director.

Rather than traditional mozzarella, Squared Pizza + Beer will use a blend of mozzarella, Wisconsin brick cheese and cheddar, he said. 

The menu also will include appetizers, burgers, sandwiches and salads. 

The bar will include 12 beer taps, along with draft cider, root beer and kombucha. Squared Pizza + Beer also is "looking to expand the cocktail offerings," Brown said.

Following the May  closure of The Walrus Saloon at the corner of 11th and Walnut streets, there was talk that Boulder Beer on Walnut would host Walrus-branded late-night parties. Brown said those parties are not in the plans for Squared Pizza + Beer. 

Lucas High: 303-684-5310, lhigh@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/lucashigh

By Lucas High

Staff Writer

POSTED:   08/30/2018 09:29:36 PM MDT

UPDATED:   08/30/2018 09:30:17 PM MDT

Boulder Beer's Short-Lived Walnut Spot Will Become Detroit-Style Pizza Pub

Just one year after Boulder Beer Company took over the former Walnut Brewery in downtown Boulder, the spot is changing again, into a Detroit-style pizza pub and brewery. But it will still stay all in the family.

Frank Day, the famed restaurateur who founded the Walnut Brewery in 1989 — along with the Rock Bottom, Old Chicago and ChopHouse brewery and restaurant chains — owns the building, the liquor license and the brewing equipment, all of which Boulder Beer has been using. Day's wife, Gina, is a part owner of Boulder Beer.

The new concept, Squared Pizza + Beer, at 1123 Walnut Street, will serve the kind of pizza that Gina grew up eating in her home town of Dearborn, Michigan. For the past year, the taproom has been serving wood-smoked meats and other dishes inspired by Boulder Beer's primary brewpub on Wilderness Place.

The seven-barrel brewhouse, meanwhile, will continue to turn out recipes designed by Boulder Beer Company and will still operate as Boulder Beer's research and development facility.

Calling the relationship between Frank Day and Boulder Beer a "collaboration," the brewery's president, Jeff Brown, says, "It has given our team a chance to create more recipes and test-market them to a wider audience than we had been able to in the past. Boulder Beer's latest two beers to be introduced to our thirty-state footprint, Due East New England-Style IPA and Festbier Helles-Style Lager, have come from the downtown collaboration."

The brewers are currently working on a double IPA that they hope to release in November as a year-round canned beer, he adds. The brewery also turns out rotating draft-only brews, like hoppy pilsners, hefeweizens, pale ales and sours, and it has two cask-conditioned English-style ales on tap at all times.

Detroit-style pizza is baked in a square pan and typically served in square slices. It has a slightly different and much thicker crust than traditional pizza and often uses other cheeses aside from mozarella. While Denver has two locations of Blue Pan Pizza, which specializes in the style, Detroit pizza will be a new addition to the Boulder dining scene, according to Squared Pizza.

The new pizzeria and brewpub will open in September.