Before River North was a magnetic urban hub, before it had an acronym attached, and before millions of dollars were poured into development, Americatus New-World Italian opened at 2449 Larimer Street in 2012. But now the restaurant will close its doors this Saturday, June 24.
The announcement came from chef/owner Iain Chisholm’s personal Facebook page, in which he shared that his next venture – a food manufacturing venture – will be made public within the month.
Though he provided little detail as to the reason for the closure, it is clear that RiNo’s expansion has brought inevitable growing pains. The web of rail yards and viaducts, warehouses and small pockets of artists has found itself in the spotlight as developers have gone gangbusters along Larimer Street and the Brighton Boulevard corridor, building retail, restaurants and rental units during the last few years. The neighborhood has experienced recent controversy as a public debate unfolded between the RiNo Art District, Joe’s Liquor and the City of Denver to determine if the retail location would be issued a liquor license. A protest resulted after the city reached a resolution to renew the license Thursday, June 22.
Americatus, a contemporary Italian eatery, presented unfussy, hand-made pastas, cheeses and slow-braised meats to the once-blighted district. Lunch and dinnertime patrons were greeted with a memorable but unpretentious dining experience, serving a well-edited menu of traditional dishes in a compact space built on a trailer and a shoestring budget. Chisholm offered nightly specials and an affordable one-page menu, with regularly rotating features such as house-made cannelloni with chicken and artichoke hearts and gnocchi with brown butter, sage, pork and figs drenched in marsala sauce.
The restaurant underwent tweaks roughly two-and-a-half years in, with a refocused concept eliminating the market counter, and a name-change from Amerigo Delicatus to Americatus due to a trademark complication with a company in Tennessee.