DENVER -- A few carryout orders trickle into the Revelry Kitchen, but Sara Harris Luther is determined to close out the year after negotiating an end date with her landlord.
The restaurant has called Tennyson Street home for a little more than a year and it seemed like the perfect place to serve up brunch. The neighborhood quickly accepted Revelry Kitchen after it moved from a previous location. February marked a record month of sales, then COVID-19 hit and this small family business started to struggle.
"When we picked this spot, we were like, 'foot traffic on Tennyson! This is such a busy street. This is going to be great! Business is going to be great!' And it was," said Harris Luther.
January 1 will be the last day of service for the restaurant.
Harris Luther is taking solace in circumstances that are beyond her control. She said the COVID-19 pandemic and following restrictions derailed her once successful business.
Carry out orders were still coming in during March and April, but she said customers seem to have grown tired of getting food to-go. She was already making plans to wind down operations when Denver restaurants were forced to suspend indoor dining for a second time this year.
“We knew that this wasn’t going to getting any better," said Harris Luther.
She hopes to reopen the restaurant in the future but she says it probably won't be on Tennyson Street.
"We’ve lost a lot of businesses in the past six months from this street. I think coming into the year, if you were to ask any business owner on this street they would’ve told you it was likely going to be a banner year for everyone," said Jimmy Funkhouser, owner of Feral, an outdoor retailer.
Shock waves rippled through the street earlier this year when a longtime restaurant called Local 46 announced it would close at the end of October.
"It just doesn't make sense to try and get through the winter. We really don’t know what that’s going to look like, and we no doubt would be running a loss all winter long," said Niya Gingerich during a previous interview.
As some restaurants close, others are betting on Tennyson Street and hoping to ride out the coming months. Mazevo Mediterranean Eatery opened in October and businesses seemed like it was off to a strong start until indoor dining was suspended.
"This was a new concept on the street. That’s why we went ahead with this," said Ashish Bhandari, manager.
As small businesses continue to struggle, Harris Luther isn't the only one left wondering what the future of Tennyson Street will look like.
“I don’t think Tennyson Street is going to die. I think it’s going to change a lot," said Luther.