Denver Direct: Memories are Made of This

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Memories are Made of This

Popular restaurant closing; another relocating to site

The well-known East Colfax restaurant Goodfriends is closing May 17. Another popular restaurant, Annie’s, is set to move from Colorado Boulevard to the Colfax location.

Employees say owner Lee Goodfriend apparently signed the final papers last Wednesday and told them of the impending closure the next day. Goodfriends has been an East Colfax landmark since it opened in 1982 at the site of The Factory striptease showbar.

Over the weekend, restaurant patrons found notices of the change placed on the tables. Restaurant personnel and patrons expressed shock, dismay, displeasure with the development.

“All good things must come to an end,” read the table cards. “Thanks for eating drinking and having fun for nearly thirty years at Goodfriends.”

According to the notice, “the folks from the legendary Annie’s Café will be moving here from 8th and Colorado. The last day for Goodfriends will be May 17.”

Goodfriends is one of three restaurants established by the partnership composed of David Racine, Dixon Staples, and Goodfriend. Staples, a former chef as well as the acknowledged leader and mentor, died in 2004. Goodfriend was a waitress and Racine a bartender when the three met.

Goodfriends, Dixons, and Racines restaurants are said to have filled a particular niche in the Denver market, setting high standards for comfortable neighborhood eateries. Goodfriends is at East Colfax and Steele, Racines is at 650 Sherman in the Golden Triangle, and Dixon’s is on 16th and Wazee in Downtown.

Annie’s is apparently being force to relocate because of plans by developer Charles Biederman to raze the existing 1939 building and put up an “extended stay” hotel at 8th and Colorado. When plans for the 160-room hotel were made public last year, there was some discussion that Annie’s could stay on the ground floor after construction was complete.

Annie’s has operated at the location for 27 years. Biederman was quoted as describing the restaurant as “an icon” and “an institution” and said he really wanted the restaurant to stay. Dianne Williams, one of the owners of Annie’s, said she would be looking for an alternative location during the year required for construction.

The University of Colorado Health Sciences Center has vacated its buildings about a block away from the restaurant. Shea Homes is redeveloping the medical center. The hotel would be designed to serve nearby Rose and National Jewish hospitals.