Citing the pandemic and retirement, 20th Street Cafe owners announce they won’t reopen

A Denver breakfast staple is no more.

20th Street Cafe has been a staple in downtown Denver since 1946. April 23, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

20th Street Cafe has been a staple in downtown Denver since 1946. April 23, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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Classic Denver eateries continue to close. A little over a week after The Market at Larimer Square announced it was closing, 20th Street Cafe’s has said they too wouldn’t open their doors again.

Owners Rod and Karen Okuno posted their announcement on Facebook on April 22.

“We thought we had a few years left before retiring but with all that has happened in the world and the economy we decided that trying to reopen after the pandemic and trying to make a realistic go of it would be impossible,” they wrote.

20th Street Cafe has been a staple in downtown Denver since 1946. April 23, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

20th Street Cafe has been a staple in downtown Denver since 1946. April 23, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The Okunos have been in downtown Denver since 1946, when Rod’s grandparents Harry and Tsugi Okuno opened the breakfast cafe at 1123 20th Street. Rod’s parents, Ted and Ann Okuno, took over from them before Rod and Karen stepped in in 2000.

“We want to thank the many longtime customers, friends, neighbors and family for the years of trusting us to feed your families food that you loved and returned for year after year. And an extra special thanks to our fabulous employees who stuck with us through thick and thin for so many years. We were blessed to have such dedicated people with us. Somehow 20th Street Cafe managed stay open through a lot of good times and not-so-good times. Some up turns and crazy downturns in the economy but this final one proved to be insurmountable for our little corner of the world. As the song goes ‘So long it’s been good to know you.’ Love you All Rod & Karen Okuno.”

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