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Beloved Institution Colfax’s Tom’s Diner Will Close Despite Residents’ Efforts to Save It

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Owner intends to retire, but fans of the structure weren’t having it

Keith Morris/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The owner of the classic Colfax greasy spoon Tom’s Diner says the Denver institution will soon close for business.

Owner Tom Messina insists that closure will occur regardless of whether the Denver City Council approves an application to bestow historic landmark status on the structure that houses the diner, brought by residents pushing to save it against the owner’s wishes.

Owner Tom Messina told the City Council’s Land Use, Infrastructure and Transportation committee of his intention to close the diner during a meeting Tuesday, according to The Denver Post. Messina previously told the Post he was seeking to sell the diner in order to finance his retirement.

The diner became embroiled in controversy earlier this year when Messina reached a deal to sell the structure and the parking lot around it to a developer who wants to demolish the building and construct an eight story apartment building on the site. In July, a group of Denver residents supported by preservation non-profit Historic Denver submitted an application to get the building designated as a landmark and prevent its demolition.

The Denver City Council will now review the issue at its Aug. 26 meeting after the Land Use, Infrastructure and Transportation committee decided Tuesday to bring the issue to the full council. That move comes after the Denver Landmark Commission previously voted unanimously last month in favor of landmarking the 52-year old Googie-style building.

Tom’s Diner is the second Denver restaurant to become embroiled in a controversy over whether it should be declared a landmark in the last few months. Last May, BusinessDen reported the city conferred non-historic status on the long-running Bonnie Brae Tavern, which has stood on South University Boulevard for 85 years.

Tom's Diner

601 E. Colfax Ave. , Denver , CO 80203