DENVER — You may have seen it driving around the River North Art district or maybe you've eaten there before. The Preservery, located at 3040 Blake Street, has become a pillar in the community. But Sunday is the end of one chapter for the restaurant's owners and the start of a new one.
After seven years, Whitney Ariss and her husband Obe have sold the business but are retaining The Preservery brand and starting a nonprofit venture that’s been in the works for over a year, The Preservery Foundation.
Ariss says some of the factors that led to the decision were rising rent costs. She and her husband also wanted to spend more time with their family, especially their daughter Adira.
"It's a rollercoaster of emotions for sure. We are going to miss the space so much. There's something really amazing about having a space where people can come. My husband and I are used to having dozens of people we know stop by sometimes, and the communal aspect of that we are really going to miss, and our team, the folks who have been working with us since the pandemic," said Ariss.
In early December of 2020, after the first big storm of the year, Ariss and her husband launched the Giving Meals program. It was aimed at serving warm meals to those who were living in homeless encampments during the dangerous weather conditions.
Customers could purchase the meals and employees delivered the food to those in need.
They sold almost 1,000 meals in the first month and hand-delivered 1,000 hot, wholesome bowls of chicken soup to folks experiencing homelessness all over Denver that winter.
Even though their restaurant is closing, Ariss said The Preservery Foundation will continue with the mission they started at the restaurant by providing hunger relief to people experiencing homelessness.
"I'm so grateful that we have the chance to do what we did. And that, you know, the community embraced us pretty beautifully. I had no idea if this whole 'Giving Meals' idea would work," said Ariss. "I just hope that we can remain to be a meaningful part of the Denver community for as long as we're here."
The Preservery will serve its last guests on Sunday, Sept. 4.