BUSINESS NEWS: The Paramount Cafe Goes Dark; Lala’s, Marlowe’s and Govnr’s Park to Follow
There are certain things you expect when you wake up every day in Denver: The mountains will rise above the city to the west, the Broncos will still be wearing orange, and the Paramount Cafe will start pouring beers and grilling burgers at 11 a.m.
One of those things didn’t happen on Monday, September 3: The doors at the Paramount Cafe remained closed when the lunch hour hit, and it looks to be a permanent situation. An employee there answered the phone, but only to confirm that the place had indeed closed.
The restaurant is operated by Premier Ventures Inc., which also owns Marlowe’s next door; Govnr’s Park Tavern, the circa 1976 watering hole at 672 Logan Street; and Lala’s Wine Bar + Pizzeria, at East Seventh Avenue and Logan. According to Premier, the three other establishments will close as leases expire, with Govnr’s Park shutting on November 11, Marlowe’s on December 22 and Lala’s on December 23.
“We recognize the impression these restaurants have left in Denver, so we wanted to give as much notice as possible,” owners Mike Plancarte and John Ott said in a statement. “We want to not only properly say goodbye, but also give our staff timely opportunity to find their next position. This is of utmost importance to us as we end this era.”
While Marlowe’s and the Paramount Cafe date back more than thirty years and Govnr’s Park celebrated its fortieth anniversary in 2016, Plancarte and Ott formed Premier and have been operating the four places for just over twenty years.
The Paramount Cafe has been a staple for tall beers — especially two-for-one Big Nose brews at happy hour — and bar bites for 33 years, serving as the de facto watering hole for patrons of the Paramount Theatre around the corner and as a handy stop for refreshments for tourists on the 16th Street Mall, especially when the weather was warm and seats were open on the patio.
Plancarte and Ott also shared the following message with their customers, employees and vendors:
To our loyal guests, vendors, and current and past employees,
Thank you for being a part of more than four decades of laughter, friendship, food, libation and celebration. We are incredibly proud of our contribution to the exciting Denver restaurant scene and have always strived for a balance of gracious hospitality and fantastic value. The longstanding success of our restaurants is a beautiful collaboration of many.
We regret to announce, after a combined 121 years of business, at the conclusion of our leases we are closing the doors of our four Denver restaurants.
Mike Plancarte and John Ott, 20+ year owners of Premier Ventures Inc, contributed significantly to the restaurant’s successes while also donating substantially to neighborhood charities. Although they are excited to pursue other endeavors and devote more time to their families, they have always treated these restaurants and communities as home.
Govnr’s Park Tavern will celebrate its last day November 11th, Marlowe’s on December 22nd and Lala’s Wine Bar + Pizzeria on December 23rd. Paramount Café’s last day of business was September 2nd. We are so grateful to our co-workers, family, vendors, and friends who have made running these restaurants unforgettable. Few relationships last so long. We will deeply miss our patrons, our employees, and the invaluable partnerships we’ve created over the years.
To our guests, we say thank you. We enjoyed serving you and it has been our pleasure to share in your memories over countless lunches and dinners, birthdays, anniversaries, and celebrations of all sorts. You are part of our family and we could not have succeeded for so long without you—-THANK YOU.
To our vendors, we hold you in the highest regard, as you share our passion and dedication and have worked tirelessly for our continued success. Thank you for being authentic, respecting and understanding our goals and values, and making it personal.
To our thousands of wonderful employees over the years, we are eternally grateful to be part of your life stories. Many of you met best friends and partners within our walls. You’ve shared your energy, your personality, and countless hours of dedication with us and we thank you. We absolutely could not have existed without you, nor can we take the next steps without your support.
We sincerely invite everyone to visit all of our restaurants to make new memories and celebrate nostalgia with us as we wind down this era. It is very important that we offer time to say goodbye. Please join us through the end of this amazing journey.
While one last beer at the ’50s-diner bar at the Paramount won’t be possible, you still have a few months to stop in at Lala’s, Marlowe’s and Govnr’s Park.
Drink up, and toast a rapidly disappearing Denver.
By Mark Antonation
Mark Antonation is the Westword Food & Drink Editor. He got his start by eating at and writing about every restaurant on Federal Boulevard and continues to cover the metro area’s diverse international food scene, as well as the city’s quickly changing restaurant landscape.
[Thank you to Alex Teitz, http://www.femmusic.com, for contributing this article.]
Photo: Shoppers and tourists on the 16th Street Mall will no longer be able to people-watch from the patio of the Paramount Café (Photo by Kristin Polzuski)