Over a thousand miles from the nearest ocean, in the land-locked heart of Denver, sits an unexpected hub for premier seafood and sake among other treats. Locals and tourists alike congregate for flown-in, fresh-daily seafood at the Sushi Den or a creative array of global cuisine at the Izakaya Den. In fact, they’ve been congregating here at the Sushi Den long enough to make it a premier restaurant destination in Denver for almost thirty years!
When the real estate beside the Sushi Den recently became available, the two Kizaki brothers sharing ownership jumped at the chance to move their secondary startup, the Izakaya Den, from its original location across the street to neighbor in close quarters with their original restaurant. It wasn’t enough to simply move into the pre-existing space. Dishes such as lobster gnocchi, black truffle arancini, and hoisin duck crostini can’t be fully appreciated just anywhere. The brothers, referred to as the “Den Masters,” needed the ambiance and style to match the caliber of the cuisine. They had already set the standard incredibly high for both themselves and the entirety of the Denver dining community.
Enter Roth Sheppard Architects and Jordy Construction — down with the old, and up with the new! And the new became a pristine sight for sore eyes. A beautiful glass-walled two-storied Izakaya Den now interlocks with the original Sushi Den. The two brother-restaurants share ambiance and space but are complete with their own kitchens, menus, and some individual staff. One of the brightest features of the newly built Izakaya structure is the retractable roof covering part of the dining area and bar on the second floor. Weather permitting, after riding the glass elevator to the second floor, diners can enjoy their small plates and cocktails in the open Colorado air. What could be more appealing in a city that boasts 300 days of sunshine per year?
The purpose behind this retractable roof and outdoor dining experience may be a little more strategic than simply allowing a little fresh air for the patrons. The Sushi Den is as well known for its outstanding food as it is for the worthwhile-but-long wait to be seated. Being from a cultural background where people aren’t expected to wait, the Kizaki brothers originally opened the Izakaya Den to help alleviate the long wait for their Sushi Den patrons while keeping their business from wandering too far. The Izakaya Den still serves this purpose. So when the reputation for the pre-dinner wait is as well known as the reputation for outstanding cuisine, a no-space-wasted attitude is an absolute necessity for Izakaya Den. Incorporating a rooftop enclosure meant that Izakaya’s outdoor dining space can be used year-round without fear of wasted space during Colorado’s harshest elements. Sudden storms aren’t even a match for the motorized structure, which can be controlled easily by any staff at the touch of a button.
The open-air dining paired with one of the highest rated dining experiences Denver has to offer is a sure win-win for this incredible and long-standing restaurant pair and the Kizaki brothers. Of course, you don’t have to take our word for it. Just take a look at the reviews, or better yet, visit and see for yourself!
TEFSG-170 Model, 12 Bays, 2 Modules. Titan Frame used with a Custom Color selected by Architect. 1″ thick Solarban Insulated Glass. Motorized operation. SecurTrak and SecurLok. 1/3 is fixed and 2/3 is motorized.
Watch it Operate