DENVER — The quiet row of businesses along Tennyson Street became even more silent after another devastating blow from the novel coronavirus.
After five years in business, the owner of Biju's Little Curry Shop, the Indian fast-casual eatery that first opened in Denver's RiNo Art District in 2014, announced this week the restaurant would not reopen after closing its doors on March 15.
Speaking to Denver7 Thursday, owner and chef Biju Thomas said he wanted to bring the food he grew up eating to the town he calls home.
"When we first opened, the idea was to open a fast, casual, neighborhood restaurant," Thomas said, adding that back in January, changes to their business strategy saw sales skyrocket.
"Hang out for a minute, we’re going to plate the food, it’s still going to be out in five to ten minutes, but for those five to ten minutes people just would sit and the place was full all the time," he said.
Because of COVID-19's impact on his business, a full restaurant is now only memory after closing their doors more than a month ago.
What happened to Biju's could end up happening to many more city restaurants down the line — that's according to the president and CEO of the Colorado Restaurant Association, Sonia Riggs, who told Denver7 even more closures are on the horizon.
"It depends on how long this minimal capacity extends," Riggs said. "If we can get back to 100% within a month, we may be able to see that start to turn around, but again, it’s not just restaurants being able to open. We know for a fact that it’s going to be limited capacity at least for the foreseeable future and they just weren’t built to sustain on those models."
Thomas said the restaurant closures will serve as a reminder to how essential they are in people's lives.
"I think that at the end of the day, people, all of us, finally have come to realize the value of these services and that small companies are really, really important."