When Simon Tran had to close his restaurant Botellón Spanish Tapas & Wine after nine months in City Park West last summer, he wasn’t ready to call it quits yet.
“Why would I stop?” Tran said. “I’m the type of person who likes taking risks. Servers, bartenders and chefs have all been so complacent in our previous jobs that this is so exciting and new for us. We wanted some sort of adventure, and there’s no feeling like doing something new and creative.”
Tran is getting ready to reopen Botellón in a new location at 2124 Larimer St. in the Ballpark neighborhood, targeting late August or early September.
The space Tran previously operated Botellón in, at 1618 E. 17th Ave., was leased by local restaurateur Alex Gurevitch, who ran Peruvian eatery Limón there for nearly 10 years until 2015, then a Southern eatery called Bread N Butter for two years and finally a barbecue restaurant dubbed Smokehouse17 for a year.
Tran said he bought the business assets from Gurevitch and opened Botellón in October 2020. But when Gurevitch’s lease for the 1,700-square-foot space was up in the summer of 2021, Tran was forced to move out.
Shawn Sanborn, a broker who represented landlord Hans Van Mende, said Tran never had a contractual relationship with the landlord, so he was not offered the first right of refusal to continue leasing the space. The Crypt, a punk rock bar and restaurant, has since moved in.
“It wasn’t worth our money or time to fight it, so we just figured we’d be better off vacating and finding a new space,” Tran said.
Tran began touring places immediately, starting with some core-and-shell spaces.
“But speaking with those landlords about the build out, no one was really open to it because we’re a small brand still,” Tran said. “We’re not like Troy Guard, where people would invest like $1.5 million to do a build out for us. So, that route went out the door pretty quickly.”
Tran owns Botellón with his business partner and friend Steve Potter. The duo leased the 3,600-square-foot space in Ballpark for 10 years. It was previously home to Su Taco. They’re doing some cosmetic finishes and waiting on their liquor license before opening.
“I financed the first shop, but then I ran out of money because we lost it all with the first shop,” Tran said. “My business partner decided to put his house up for this new restaurant, that’s how much he believes in the dream I have.”
Botellón will serve a variety of classic tapas, like paella, scallop dishes and gambas al ajillo, plus classic cocktails and imported Spanish wines.
Tran grew up studying the Spanish language and fell in love with the food and culture. He’s never visited, but it’s on his bucket list.
“I feel so blessed to have this second opportunity to open up Botellón because the first time we lost it, it felt like all of our dreams got crushed a bit,” Tran said. “Now, it feels like we have a bit of breath of life again.”
Subscribe to our new food newsletter, Stuffed, to get Denver food and drink news sent straight to your inbox.
This story was reported by our partner BusinessDen.