DENVER — Despite opening their brick and mortar restaurant at “the worst time you could possibly open a restaurant,” the owners of Danger Zone Calzones are hopeful that business will take off as restrictions are eased.
“Business will only get busier and busier,” owner Ben Todd said.
Todd and his wife, Hillary, had been serving their handmade calzones out of a food truck for the last two-and-a-half years, before making the move to a fighter-jet themed restaurant space on South Broadway with the hopes of catering to the late-night bar crowds.
“I told my wife, 'It’s gonna be great. As long as bars are still a thing, it’s gonna be great,'” he said.
The pandemic hit, bars closed, and then their lease started. They opened in January of 2021.
“We opened a restaurant in January, which is a horrible time to open a restaurant. We opened a restaurant in a pandemic, which is when all the restaurants were closing. So, January, in a pandemic, is the worst time you could possibly open a restaurant,” Todd said.
Luckily, the couple was already used to working side-by-side, just the two of them. Without any employees, and with their eyes closely on costs, they put their restaurant on delivery platforms and have been able to turn a small profit so far.
“And as the last call options for the bars gets later and later, people still want to eat late,” Todd said.
The restaurant will tweak its hours to respond to those changes, and there is a name tweak in the works as well. Danger Zone will soon become Full Afterburner Calzones, named by actual Top Gun fighter pilot instructors. The owners say they are ready and hopeful that restrictions will be eased, and business will increase.
“It’s only gonna get better,” Todd said.