LoHi SteakBar no longer has interest in the restaurant game.
The steakhouse at 3200 Tejon St., along with its neighboring cafe, LoHi Local, will permanently close on June 15, according to managing partner Joe Pettenger.
Both companies’ leases are up at the end of June, and Pettenger said he and his four other partners decided it was time to close.
“With all the challenges that have come up over the past two years, obviously COVID, staffing, rent increases, maintaining some things, equipment and everything, and the upcoming lease , my partners and I looked at each other and decided it was a good time for all of us to take the next step,” Pettenger said.
LoHi SteakBar opened in 2010 and serves prime cuts of meat and an extensive list of cocktails and spirits. It was started by Joe Vostrejs of City Street Investors, Rod Wagner and former Larimer Square owner Jeff Hermanson, as well as former executive chef Sean Kelly.
The partners purchased the 4,726 square foot space on which LoHi SteakBar operates for $837,300 in 2008, according to property records. Pettenger said they don’t know what they will do with the space next, and they haven’t yet put it up for rent or for sale.
In 2014, LoHi SteakBar’s current executive chef, Taylor Drew, bought Kelly out of the company. The two met while working for Bonanno Concepts.
LoHi Local opened in a nearby 400 square foot space in 2016 after a cafe across the street was demolished and the owners decided to replace it by opening one in their former private dining room .
Lately, Pettenger said the restaurant’s biggest challenge has been staffing, as is the case with most local restaurateurs. LoHi SteakBar and LoHi Local currently have around 15 employees, but a full-time staff typically has around 25 employees. After the pandemic, he said, they lost a lot of employees moving to new states or careers.
“It’s been really slow on some days when it’s so crowded that we can’t keep the wheels on the bus,” Pettenger said. “Staffing this type of inconsistency is very difficult.”
Pettenger and Drew also own a farm together called Forever West Farms, which has been growing produce for LoHi SteakBar since their debut in 2019. The business partners own three acres in Arvada and 40 in Yampa, where Drew recently moved. In addition to vegetables, they have pigs, cows and chickens.
Now that LoHi SteakBar is closing, Pettenger and Drew plan to increase production on the farm and begin selling produce and meat to other restaurants in town.
“It was one of the greatest experiences, and I’ll never forget how much we learned,” Pettenger said. “I really don’t have any regrets. It opened up the opportunity on the farm, which is something we’re passionate about, and all the relationships we’ve built doing this. But what excites me the most, it’s being able to spend more time with my family.
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This story was reported by our partner BusinessDen.