Since 1983, Racines, located at 650 Sherman St., has been a restaurant where business was attended to in Denver.
Owned by Lee Goodfriend and David Racine, the restaurant was ready for one last victory lap after 36 years of serving up wings, burritos, hamburgers, enchiladas and more to the Denver metro area. Before COVID-19 forced Racines to temporarily close its doors, Goodfriend and Racine had plans to officially close Racines on Jan. 21, 2021 as expenses like an increase in property taxes and more added up to the point where the restaurant wasn’t profitable anymore.
Unfortunately, Racines didn’t make it to its targeted date for closure as the restaurant has permanently closed its doors. The restaurant had expected to reopen after the Stay at Home Order, but the threat of the virus combined with trying to run a restaurant during the COVID-19 era sped up its closure.
“It is with profound sadness that David and I have decided not to reopen Racines, there is just too much working against us,” a July 13 Facebook post from Racines reads. “We hope that our beloved guests continue to support independent restaurants. They truly need our help to survive. Thank you for the support over the last 40 years. It’s been so much fun. The hard work was worth it, and it’s time to retire and enjoy the slower paced life. We will miss our treasured guests. We are trying to help place our fantastic staff. Love to all of you and many thanks.”
Goodfriend and Racine previously opened up Goodfriends in 1979 before it opened Racines in 1983. The two also opened up Dixons Downtown Grill in lower downtown in 1997, which stayed open until 2011 when its lease expired. The Goodfriends building was sold near City Park in 2008.
The previous Racines was located on Bannock St. before Goodfriend and Racine bought the Sherman St. location. Once Racines moved locations, most of its staff and management returned to the restaurant along Sherman Street. The property is expected to be turned into a 418-unit luxury apartment complex with construction set to start at the beginning of next year.
Rather than carrying out to-go orders like many restaurants did at the beginning of the pandemic, Racines decided to remain closed. The restaurant opted to donate some of its freezer items to same Café, which aims to serve healthy food to every resident, regardless of their ability to pay, according to its website.
“While rising labor costs, property tax increases, the labor shortage and governmental intrusion all factored into this bittersweet decision, it’s really about retirement and having the chance to travel and enjoy our lives that have been consumed by this business,” Goodfriend said in a release, adding that she doesn’t know where she will eat at now that Racines closed.