Hello Darling cafe and cocktail bar planned for Riverfront Park in Denver

Daniel Masters, a 41-year-old Memphis native, traveled to Denver during the pandemic to learn about the city’s approach to outdoor dining.

And he didn’t look back.

“When I got home, it didn’t feel like home anymore,” Masters said. “I was more comfortable here, and I kept coming every month until it was official.”

Masters owns a nightclub in Memphis called Silly Goose, which he opened in 2008, and a Southern restaurant called Pontotoc Lounge, which dates from 2016. He also owned a food hall there that closed during the pandemic.

And after moving here, he’s now planning his debut on Denver’s restaurant scene — a cafe and cocktail bar called Hello Darling at 1610 Little Raven St. in Riverfront Park.

“My food dance is over,” Masters said. “Hello Darling makes a lot of sense because the traditional model of a restaurant has been difficult to achieve. It’s very stressful, especially with the cost of labour, food and the revolving door of staff.

Hello Darling, which he hopes to debut in August, will be open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, Masters said. In the morning, it will serve coffee from MiddleState Coffee, as well as baked goods from Fudmill and breakfast burritos from Araujos. In the evening, there will be classic cocktails on tap, such as negronis, manhattans, daiquiris and espresso martinis, as well as charcuterie boards and other snacks.

“When I was young, nightclubbing was the energy I had,” Masters said. “But as I got older and started getting up and going to bed earlier, I want to focus my passion on what interests me now, which is coffee and a good cocktail. “

Masters leased the 1,900 square foot space in December for five years. It was previously part of the Wayward restaurant, which closed in 2018. He was passing by one day and said he was shocked to find it vacant.

“I feel like there’s a need for a good place for happy hour between the two bridges,” he said.

Masters self-funded Hello Darling, which he named after a song by Conway Twitty, and did some cosmetic finishing touches to the space before it opened.

“As a newcomer here, I’m excited to meet new people myself,” he said.

Eventually, he would like to sell his other two businesses in Memphis and focus entirely on Denver.

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This story was reported by our partner BusinessDen.

About James K. Bonnette

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