Jonathan Castner / Staff Photographer
Helen H. Richardson / The Denver Post
Oskar Blues’ push into Denver isn’t stopping with the opening of Hotbox Roasters and Chuburger in the trendy River North district.
The pioneer of canned craft beer plans to open a restaurant and music venue in Lower Downtown.
Oskar Blues Fooderies, the restaurant arm of the Longmont-based craft brewer, inked a deal to fill 11,000 square feet at 1624 Market St., a two-level space that previously had Croc’s Mexican Grill above the still-operating Pat’s Philly Cheesesteaks.
Oskar Blues is targeting an opening in the summer of 2017.
Pat’s is expected to close, the property owner and Oskar Blues officials said. The restaurant’s owner could not be reached for comment.
Oskar Blues and the property’s owner intend to revamp the space to highlight the historic characteristics and connect the floors with interior stairwells and a dormant elevator in the back, Oskar Blues chef and partner Jason Rogers said. Oskar Blues plans to install a fuel hood chimney to allow for a smoker and a wood-burning grill.
“We’ll do smoking on premise with the whiskey-barrel staves from our brewery,” Rogers said.
The Black Buzzard music venue located on the floor below will complement the Southern-inspired menu, he said.
Music has been a central theme to Oskar Blues’ existence, starting with its first restaurant in Lyons.
Oskar Blues hunted for potential sites across Colorado’s Front Range in recent years but didn’t pull the trigger on leases unless the space, location and time were right.
After the $29 million sale last fall of Market Center, five historic buildings near the corner of 16th and Market streets, Oskar Blues’ brokers approached the new owners.
The purchase, said Pat McHenry, co-founder of Denver-based City Street Investors, one of the buying partners, “was really a chance to make this block something special … and where we wanted to go with that was ‘hip.’ I couldn’t have asked for a better tenant.”