By Molly Martin May, Westword | The building at 476 South Broadway that’s been transformed into BurnDown almost burned down in a 1978 fire that left a gaping hole in the center of the structure. Now that hole is an atrium that stretches from the expansive first-floor dining room through the second-floor lounge, where a small acoustic stage is located, to a third indoor/outdoor level with a rooftop deck.
The team behind the concept includes founder and general manager Reed Sparks, who returned to Denver after stints in New York City, where he worked at an insurance firm, and Jackson Hole, where he leaned into the world of hospitality, eventually becoming an assistant brewer at Snake River Brewing.
He’s partnered with childhood friend Alex Vickers, who worked at a project management company for a decade before leaving that job to open BurnDown. Vickers is a managing partner alongside Gigi Muto, who is also the beverage director. For the culinary program, Sparks brought in one of his former Snake River co-workers, chef Eric Navratil.
South Broadway is already home to a number of venues, including Broadway Roxy one block south, but BurnDown is located on a stretch that’s less densely packed than nearby Baker. “I don’t want this neighborhood to turn into the Highlands or RiNo or anything like that, but with a big anchor spot like this, you can elevate it to being a destination rather than a convenience kind of neighborhood,” Vickers says.
Bridging the gap between Baker and I-25, this new venue/restaurant is poised to bring new energy to the area. Here are five reasons to get excited for the May 20 debut of BurnDown:
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The live music
The acoustic stage on the second level is small — Vickers notes that the biggest band it’s hosted during test runs was six pieces — but music carries well through the entire space, thanks to the atrium. Shows are currently booked every Friday and Saturday night through August, and there will be more jazzy, brunch-friendly tunes on Sundays from noon to 3 p.m.
The stage was designed so that the sound goes toward South Broadway, which means that the largely residential area behind BurnDown shouldn’t have any noise complaints (like those that have caused issues at other venues, like Number Thirty Eight).
BurnDown’s team members have given a lot of thought to every aspect of the operation. Now they’re ready to see it in action.
Fire when ready!
BurnDown is located at 476 South Broadway and will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday starting May 20. For more information, visit burndowndenver.com.
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[Thanks to Alex Teitz for contributing this article! http://www.femmusic.com]
Photo: BurnDown Denver .com