By Paul Albani-Burgio, Special to Denverite
The nightlife-heavy block of Broadway that hosts Milk and Bar Standard will soon get a “full-fledged restaurant.” Jive Bar & Kitchen will open on Feb. 17 at 1055 Broadway in the building that is perhaps best recognized for the large mural of Louis Armstrong, David Bowie, Frank Sinatra and other music legends that adorns its north side.
That space was previously the home of The Living Room, a wine and tapas bar owned by Regas Christou that closed in 2018 after almost a decade of business. Christou also owns Milk and Bar Standard.
But while The Living Room brought more of a lounge feel to an area known for Christou’s clubs, chef Daniel Young said Jive is all about bringing a true dining experience to the neighborhood.
“We are not a bar with food or a club with food,” Young said. “We are a food establishment first.”
Young’s culinary career has had no shortage of highlights.
He spent nearly a decade cooking for former Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony and was named one of three chef finalists to occupy the kitchen in the Obama White House. Still, his last foray in this neighborhood, a diner called Fat Daddy’s at Broadway and 12th Avenue, went out of business in 2003 after three years of operation. During an infamous March snowstorm, which closed schools for days and covered the Front Range in feet of snow, a wall collapsed in the restaurant. It never reopened. Young (who also goes by Chef D) admits that was not a highlight.
“I think 20 years ago I personally felt that the Golden Triangle was glad to have me,” said Young. “And I realize now I am glad to have the Golden Triangle.”
It is with an “older, more mature mindset” that Young says he and Christou, who owned Fat Daddy’s, will take another stab at bringing a destination restaurant to the neighborhood. They’ll serve lunch and dinner, as well as brunch on the weekends.
That focus on food is evident in the small but ambitious opening menu of comfort food entrees with international flair. Meat eaters will be able to choose from the ribeye steak blackened with Cajun seasonings or the Chaussure chicken breast braised in tomato sauce. Pasta lovers can opt for a crab linguine or a meatball marinara.
The other entrees include a grilled salmon served with raspberry butter and a southern-style cheesy grits and shrimp dish. There will also be a selection of salads and appetizers, including black shrimp roulades and toasted ravioli.
Young emphasizes that he and Christou want Jive to be a restaurant for the Golden Triangle and Capitol Hill neighborhoods.
That mentality is echoed in the space. The eatery is heavy on natural brick and has a colorful and artsy feel. A mural of a dancing, well-dressed couple fills the dining room. Paintings of tigers perch above booths by the bar.
The restaurant is also filled with plants and antiques and garage doors that can be opened onto Broadway. Alongside its culinary focus, Jive also boasts a large bar that will serve gourmet coffee drinks in addition to alcoholic beverages.
They also will provide a new spot to practice the beloved Denver daytime ritual that is brunch. Young said the menu will feature options such as corn beef hash, vegan burritos, steak and eggs and, perhaps most exciting of all, orange sherbet mimosas. Those old enough to have gone to Young’s first restaurant, Diced Onions, will likely recognize the brunch options from that spot, which was a fixture in Cherry Creek back in the mid ’90s.
Jive, which has 196 seats and includes both front and back patios (the latter of which is covered and heated), will open at 10 a.m. daily and close at 9 p.m. on weeknights and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
When it opens on Feb. 8, it will also represent the first step in what will become something of a restaurant revolution in the neighborhood, albeit one that is still in the early stages. That’s because Jive is one of multiple properties in the area that Christou owns and is looking to bring new restaurants into, Young said.
“Right now we are looking to find suitable tenants for those in a reasonable time. But if we don’t find them, then we are going to go ahead and develop those spaces ourselves,” he said. “I’m excited for it because it’s probably going to test me and put me into other areas of food.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated. The opening date has been pushed back.