It's been a week since the city plastered the First Avenue Hotel building at 1st Avenue and Broadway with Danger signs, forcing El Diablo and Sketch Food & Wine to hault business and send their employees on involuntarily, unpaid vacations. The city accused restaurateur Jesse Morreale of conducting work without proper permits, creating "hazard to the life safety of occupants and the public." Since then, Morreale has created a campaign to save the restaurants, asking community members to sign a petition urging the city to lift its drastic measures. Morreale tells Blacktie that El Diablo executive chef Sean Yontz and Sketch executive chef Brian Laird have also decided to temporarily reopen the restaurants at Rockbar — Morreale's popular nightlife destination at 3015 E. Colfax Ave. inside of the All Inn Motel.
“It’s terrifying what they’ve done and what they’re doing. Instead of acknowledging their mistake and correcting it right away, they’ve dug in their heels. Now, this has turned into a character assination campaign against me,” [sic] Morreale told Blacktie, maintaining that he's always kept an open dialog with city officials. "There is no public safety issue with my building."
The city's decision to close the establishments has definitely turned both restaurants upside down, leaving 150 employees without income — a problem Morreale hopes to remedy as much as he can by opening Rockbar for dinner service (starting tonight) until the restaurants are allowed to reopen. Rockbar will also accept donations for the displaced workers.
· Employees Hurting After Denver Suddenly Shuttered Restaurants [Blacktie]
· Save The Restaurants [Official Site]
· All El Diablo/Sketch Closure Coverage [EDen]
Rockbar [Photo: CBS Local]