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Emmerson Closes Suddenly on Boulder’s Pearl Street

The “neo-bistro” opened a year and a half ago to positive reviews

Emmerson’s unique design was applauded when it opened in August, 2017
Adam Larkey/Eater

A 5,000-square-foot restaurant space in Boulder has once again gone dark after 17 months operating as Emmerson. The “neo-bistro” closed suddenly early this week at 1600 Pearl Street. Owner Ben Kaplan said that “occupancy” and “people” costs proved too high to continue running the large piece of real estate.

“With a footprint like that and the fact that all of the foot traffic in Boulder has moved to the west end of Pearl Street, there simply was not enough volume to support a restaurant of this size,” Kaplan said. He still has eight years left on his lease, however, and is looking for someone to either take over the space entirely or collaborate on a new concept.

“We built a really beautiful restaurant, I think there’s probably a great opportunity for a partnership with another operator.”

Emmerson opened in August, 2017, with an experienced team of local and national restaurant industry pros behind it — chefs Michael Gibney and Jeb Breakell came from New York for the venture, cocktail curator Nancy Kwon got involved after leaving Los Angeles, and locals Ben Foote and Tre Gerbitz joined, respectively, as beverage director and general manager.

Gibney’s pasta and grain dishes and Breakell’s savory-sweet desserts were instant hits here. The restaurant was also one of the prettiest newcomers of the year. By closing, though, much of the original team had dispersed. Breakell, whose desserts Eater hailed last year as “Denver’s most interesting,” has since moved on to work with another local restaurant group.

Elsewhere on this eastern stretch of Pearl Street are some of Boulder’s top eateries — Pizzeria Locale and Frasca, Boxcar Coffee and Cured, Mateo, and River and Woods among them. At the former home of Ted’s Montana Grill (1701 Pearl), popular Colorado chain Rio Grande Mexican has popped up temporarily while its Walnut Street location is being rebuilt.

Across town, around Pearl Street’s west end, new restaurant developments like Bartaco, Chimera, and Corrida have opened in the last year or so.

Emmerson originally tinkered with all-day service for the neighborhood before cutting down to happy hour and dinner on weeknights. As a result, Kaplan said he had fewer employees at closing — down to around 20 — but that he’ll be helping them to find positions at other restaurants.


1600 Pearl Street, , CO 80302 (303) 953-9852 Visit Website