Tom's Urban 24 takes it up a notch

Column by Penny Parker


When Tom's Urban 24, the 24-hour diner-ish eatery at 15th and Larimer, expands into other cities, chief concept officer Tom Ryan said the plan is to keep roughly 70 percent of the Denver menu, but reserve the other 30 percent to include local fare.

Immediate growth plans include two more Tom's restaurants with one likely to be in California, said Stacie Lange, executive vice president of public relations for Consumer Capital Partners, parent company of Tom's Urban 24 and the giant Smashburger chain.

Ryan and Lange invited Pat "Gabby Gourmet" Miller and I to a lunch tasting last week to sample dishes from the "Winter Menu" that recently debuted.

We nibbled on 14 new delightful dishes that, frankly, have much improved the cuisine quality over my first experience at the restaurant right before it opened roughly 90 days ago.

"The old 90-day rule is really true," Ryan said about what he asserts is the typical amount of time it takes a restaurant to work out the kinks. "It's like rewiring your house with the electricity on."

New menu items include pot pies with filet mignon or truffled lobster and shrimp; Stranahan's whiskey barbecued ribs; open-faced Angus meatloaf platter; Urban super pho with egg, shrimp, chicken and duck confit; fried brussels sprouts with Asian vinaigrette; Tuscan kale and romaine chicken Caesar, and fried "Chickenlooper" with sweet corn pancakes served with syrup and butter.

Some of the new dishes are on the dinner menu only, available from 4 to 10 p.m. daily. Others appear on the breakfast, lunch and late-night menu from 10 p.m. to 4 p.m. Egg dishes have been added to the dinner menu because of customer demand.

In addition to expanding the Tom's brand, Ryan said Consumer Capital Partners plans to reopen Tossa, the pizza and pasta place in Boulder that the company closed in December, somewhere in the Denver region, but wouldn't specify. He said the concept needed to be refined.

Zonta Club hits big 1-0

The Zonta Club of Douglas County recently marked its 10th anniversary with a luncheon at La Dolce Vita Restaurant in Castle Pines that was attended by club members as well as special guests, including Zonta district governor Sheila Davis and former district governor Mary Benoit.

Zonta Club of Douglas County is part of Zonta International, a global organization of executives and professionals working together to advance the status of women worldwide.

During the past 10 years, the Zonta Club of Douglas County has donated more than $60,000 to local charities, and gave more than $10,000 in scholarships to local high school seniors. Members donated more than 900 hours of time to local nonprofits last year alone.

Trivia Night, the club's major fundraiser, takes place April 20 at Kirk Hall at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Castle Rock. Registration is open for teams and individuals who want to compete. More information: or by contacting vice president Rhonda Bolich-Lampo at or at 720-344-2153.

Give Live

The Grammy-nominated band DeVotchKa will headline Give Live, a benefit concert for the Bonfils Blood Center, beginning at 8 p.m. Feb. 14 at the Paramount Theatre.

DeVotchKa, widely known for composing the score to the film "Little Miss Sunshine", released its seventh album "Live With the Colorado Symphony" in November.

"Throughout the Colorado community, Bonfils is most known for collecting blood donations from our generous blood donors," said Jessica Maitland, vice president of marketing and community operations. "This new benefit concert will give us the platform to share another important way our community can help us save and enhance lives — through financial contributions."

Reserved and VIP tickets available at

Dinner, a show and Short

Comedian and actor Martin Short is the featured entertainer during the third annual Early Bird fundraiser, a benefit for the InnovAge Foundation, a nonprofit that channels community support and funding to enhance the independence and quality of life for seniors.

The early-evening event, from 4:30 to 9 p.m. Feb. 23 in the Seawell Grand Ballroom in the Denver Center of the Performing Arts, includes cocktails, dinner, auctions, music and Short's comedy.

This is a chance to dress up, dine well, laugh loud and still make it to bed at a reasonable hour.

Tickets are $500 for dinner, Short's performance, a post-event reception and meet-and-greet with the comedian. Tickets for dinner and the show only are $250. And there's a $100 ticket for the show only with general seating in the back of the ballroom.

RSVP by Feb. 15 at

Generous DeGeneres

Talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres was so flattered by Denver's Curtis Hotel — a Doubletree by Hilton's “Couples We Love Celebrity-themed Valentine's Day Getaway” promotion — that she called the hotel during her show on Thursday to reserve The Ellen & Portia package.

The DeGeneres-themed package includes a CD of “Now, That's What I Call Dance” for your own private dance party, a bath of Blondies, a bottle of California red wine and two blonde wigs — all to honor the talk show host and her wife Portia de Rossi.

Connie, the unsuspecting Curtis Hotel desk clerk, answered the call while DeGeneres disguised her voice to try to reserve the room for Feb. 14-16.

After a few funny moments, DeGeneres finally came clean and identified herself. But she sweetened the deal by promising to send several goodies from the Ellen DeGeneres show shop, plus said she'd fly Connie to be an audience member of her show.

You can see the segment at .

Other “Couples We Love” packages are available at

He's the boss

Former Denver Post theater critic and my former colleague John Moore will be taking up a new act as director of “Always Patsy Cline,” the delightful musical tribute to the famed country-western star, for Ronni Gallup and Starkey Productions at the PACE Center in Parker in April.

“I'm sure the critics will be kind…won't they?” Moore posted on Facebook. You know what they say about payback, pal. Break a leg!

More information at

Parking problems

The LoDo District is finally addressing the 800-pound gorilla that lurks in the neighborhood: parking.

The district wants to know how you get to LoDo and where you prefer to park. There's an online survey you can fill out so that the LoDo District folks can “meet your needs by advocating for the best parking in town.”

Penny Parker's “Mile High Life” column gives insights into the best events, restaurants, businesses, parties and people throughout the metro area. Parker also writes for She can be reached at or at 303-619-5209.


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