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Why a Popular Denver Restaurant Group Is Closing Its Doors

And what diners can do to keep the nostalgic spots open

Pizza and wine at Lala’s — the popular neighborhood hangout on East 7th Avenue will close in December

This week, a longstanding restaurant group announced the closure of its four neighborhood locales, three of which had been operating for more than 30 years in Denver. The first to go, over Labor Day weekend, was Paramount Cafe, and the others — Govnr’s Park Tavern, Marlowe’s, and Lala’s Wine Bar + Pizzeria — will follow by the end of December.

The owners of Premier Ventures decided not to renew their restaurant leases and to give their nearly 200 employees as much notice as possible. The decision didn’t stem from a difficult landlord or lease negotiation but from a “number of small factors,” according to Mike Plancarte, a Premier co-owner.

“It’s a different game these days ... we definitely have weathered through some recessions,” Plancarte said, citing the rising costs of minimum wage and healthcare, as well as competition from new restaurants and food delivery services. By the time Premier’s latest lease negotiations came around, “We thought it was best to go out with our heads held high,” he added.

Plancarte, now in his 21st year of running the restaurant group, started as a busboy at Paramount in 1995. He became a general manager by ‘97 and helped to take over business operations a year later. Over the years, he has witnessed a shift in the Denver dining life cycle. “I don’t know if you’ll see as many restaurants that will have the longevity of places like ours,” he wondered of the scene’s present and future.

At longstanding places like Paramount Cafe and Govnr’s Park Tavern, every new restaurant opening is felt, “even if they take one or two customers away.” Plancarte isn’t bitter about it, though, and he knows the old haunts are still “close to (customers’) hearts. But they’re so busy going to these shiny, new places.”

While Paramount is officially closed, the three other restaurants still have some time left in business, and Plancarte is focusing on his employees and customers in the months moving forward. “I’ll work tirelessly to make sure they all land on their feet,” he said of the former. And of the latter: “We still have a job to do here. We’re gonna go out and celebrate these restaurants.”

Status: Govnr’s Park Tavern will stay open through November 11, Marlowe’s through December 22, and Lala’s, December 23. The restaurants are booking holiday parties.

Govnr's Park Tavern

672 Logan St, Denver, CO 80203 (303) 831-8605 Visit Website

Lala's Wine Bar + Pizzeria

410 East 7th Avenue, , CO 80203 (303) 861-9463 Visit Website