Add another to the list of Denver restaurants and music venues reemerging post-pandemic: Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox near Union Station is plugging the amps back in and firing up the kitchen this month after two years closed.
The restaurant, a popular brunch destination pre-COVID, is slated to reopen on April 13; however, the music venue is hosting several concerts leading up to a full reopen. On April 7, Aron Magner of the Disco Biscuits is scheduled to perform under his solo moniker MGNR, followed by Magic Giant on April 8 and Good Morning on April 9.
Mndsgn will bring jazzy, chillwave and R&B vibes to the grand reopening show on April 13 at 9 p.m. Tickets cost $19-$32 via Ticketmaster.
Owner and chef Justin Cucci spent the last nine months renovating the 7,500-square-foot venue to make the downstairs bigger and more accommodating for concerts. That included moving the bar and adding additional dance floor space, as well as upgrading sound and lighting equipment to the standard of national touring acts, he said.
Upstairs, Cucci and his staff changed the direction of booths to have better visibility of the stage. They’re in the process of completing a patio build-out, too, which Cucci expects will wrap up in May.
“We had identified that we wanted to move the bar and create a bigger downstairs pre-COVID,” Cucci said, adding renovations would have started earlier had there not been so much uncertainty about when – or if – live music would return. In 2020, “we just put our pencils down and tried to weather the storm. When we saw live music didn’t feel like it was making a comeback in 2021, we said let’s do it.”
Visitors can expect substantial updates to the food menu, too. Cucci retained some favorite dishes, such as the chicken sandwich and sourdough flatbreads, but revamped the majority of offerings to focus on handhelds and dance floor-friendly items. That’s because when you see a show at Ophelia’s this year, you’ll be able to scan a wristband code and order food that you can pick up from a window and take back to the dance floor.
New menu items include fried pickles with cheese curds and pastrami double-fried wings that “won’t give you wing fingers,” Cucci said.
Ophelia’s will serve brunch starting April 13, though that menu has been updated, too. One buzzy item is a blintz, or cheese-stuffed crepe, infused with CBD.
The venue returns with a full calendar that includes bands like Mile High Soul Club (April 14), Andy Thorn & Burning Grass (April 20), Wet (May 3), JoJo Hermann of Widespread Panic (June 4), Shinyribs (June 10) and We Banjo 3 (July 30). See the full schedule here.
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