Sunday’s brunch will be the last service for Rialto Café, which opened in 1997 at 16th and Curtis streets in downtown Denver.
“There are just not a lot of people downtown anymore,” general manager Amy Anderson explained of the permanent closure. Without the draw of theater, concerts, conventions and sporting events, “which have always kind of been our bread and butter,” she said, the restaurant couldn’t survive the summer.
Anderson began applying for an expanded outdoor patio for the 140-seat Rialto in late May, but she found out by the middle of July that 16th Street’s dedicated bus lanes prevented any more seating.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be the same,” Anderson said of business. “But we hoped that slowly but surely we’d see growth.”
She says the restaurant’s sales have been akin to the statewide average, according to the Colorado Restaurant Association: on average, 40% lower year-over-year than last summer. And she says downtown’s homeless population has also presented “challenges” for the business.
“Prior to COVID-19, it was really getting better,” Anderson said.
The Rialto will serve its final brunches this weekend from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. and offer happy hour specials and other promotions during the week. Anderson said she hopes longtime customers will come back in and her employees have some time “just to make a little bit more money.”
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