Annie’s Cafe and Bar building hits the market for possible redevelopment

Annie’s is a staple in Denver, celebrating 40 years in business this year.

Annie's Cafe and Bar, Nov. 3, 2021.

Annie's Cafe and Bar, Nov. 3, 2021.

Kyle Harris/Denverite
kyle harris

This year, Annie’s Cafe and Bar celebrated 40 years in business. Now the building at 3100 East Colfax Avenue has been listed for sale by commercial realtor Sanborn & Company.

Annie’s is a family-run restaurant that opened in 1981 at 8th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard. With all-day breakfast, booze and plenty of diner fare, it’s an unpretentious spot for nursing — and occasionally creating — hangovers. Colfax staples like Tom’s Diner and the Denver Diner are both shuttered; the latter is turning into a bank. Annie’s is one of the last-standing diner-like spots on the strip.

The seller of the building is asking that any buyer not disturb the tenant — yet that’s exactly what the sale could do.

Restaurant owner Peggy Anderson, who just discovered the building had been listed for sale, is weighing her options. She’s happy to stay in the building as long as rent isn’t jacked up by new owners, and she’s also considering moving to a smaller place in the neighborhood. The problem: It needs to be affordable.

In the four decades she’s run the business, she’s watched customers meet on blind dates over comfort food and later get married. Neighbors have celebrated births and weddings at her restaurant. It’s become a home to her Congress Park community, and these days, Annie’s is viewed as part of Old Denver.

“We don’t have much of Old Denver left,” said Anderson. “‘Old’ is just going back to ’81. We’re just one of the older restaurants still in business. We made it through COVID and are doing well. I would hate to let it all expire. My fate is in the hands of others right now.”

The 5,578-square-foot structure is being advertised as an ideal spot to open a bar or a restaurant and possibly to redevelop. The availability date, according to the posting, is July 31, 2022.

Annie's Cafe and Bar, Nov. 3, 2021.

Annie's Cafe and Bar, Nov. 3, 2021.

Kyle Harris/Denverite

The property, assessed at $945,300, currently comes with 19 parking spaces and is located on around a quarter acre of land in the Colfax Avenue Bluebird District in Congress Park.

This isn’t the first time Annie’s has faced relocation.

In 2008, the restaurant was forced to move from its longtime home at 8th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard, Westword‘s food editor Molly Martin reported in June. That same year, Anderson and former co-owner Diane Williams approached Racine’s owners David Racine and Lee Goodfriend, who had gone through a similar move. At the time Annie’s approached them, they were in the process of closing their first restaurant, Goodfriends, at the 3100 East Colfax building. Both were eager to handoff the building to Annie’s.

The 3100 East Colfax Avenue building has been in various trusts associated with members of the late Judge Sharon Shuteran’s family since 1990, according to records from the Denver assessors office.

Over the years, recalled Anderson, “It’s been everything from a jazz club to a strip club.”

Sanborn & Company has not been available for comment.

This story has been updated to include comments from Anderson. 

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