Since the announcement that 11-year-old Z Cuisine closed in September 2016, fans of the space and restaurant have waited for news of its replacement. The wait is now over: Earlier this month, Andrew Niemeyer, owner of Cart-Driver, bought the building at 2239 West 30th Avenue. In the space, Niemeyer and his team will open a second location of their hit RiNo restaurant.
“We’ve been looking for the perfect second location for a couple of years, and I think we finally found it,” Niemeyer told Eater on Wednesday. The new Cart-Driver will take up the entire ground floor of the building, just over 2,800 square feet, formerly home to Z Cuisine and A Côté. Renovation on the space will start in the next month, and a timeline for opening has yet to be determined.
“There’s a lot of work to do. Having said that, Z Cuisine had an incredibly passionate following, and we have every intention of preserving the character and integrity of the space,” Niemeyer added. “We want to respect that and honor the previous operator.” Cart-Driver’s crew will be expanding for the new operation. The successful pizza and Prosecco spot first opened in 2014 in a RiNo shipping container.
The new space in LoHi housed Z Cuisine for a successful decade-plus as a French bistro until that restaurant’s sudden closure in 2016. At the time, Denver restaurateur Justin Cucci was linked to a possible next life for the space; his sister Jamille Cucci and her partner Dominique Falkner purchased the building and planned to open a restaurant there continuing in the French tradition.
Then Justin Cucci opened El Five, adding to his roster of restaurants including Root Down, Linger, Ophelia’s, and Vital Root. “I think Justin has his hands full at the moment,” Niemeyer said, explaining that he had originally been negotiating a sublease of the building for his second restaurant. But Niemeyer’s 2245 W 30th Avenue LLC purchased the space earlier this month for $1.5 million, according to property records. Back in 2004, Z Cuisine owner Patrick DuPays paid $150,000 for it, selling to Falkner in 2016 for $1.3 million.