Rox aims for recipe to succeed where others failed

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By AJ Vicens

Sitting at Ken Caryl Avenue and C-470 is a building that is not new. It has hosted various restaurants, bars and even a liquor store in its time, but it has been standing empty for nearly two years.

Not anymore.

Rox Bar & Grill is set to open in the space July 21, and owner Jeff Mintz and general manager Michael Rios think their new establishment can succeed where others have failed because they’re from the community and know what it needs.

“This is going to be very family-oriented,” Mintz said recently. “But you’re going to be able to get a good meal, No. 1.”

Mintz and Rios have turned the building into a restaurant with a copper-topped bar, a cozy patio dining area and a rooftop deck overlooking the Hogback and staring straight up the Ken Caryl Valley. There will be plenty of TVs for sports fans, but it’s not a sports bar per se.

“What we’re not is a brand,” Mintz said.

Rios described Rox as “upscale casual,” but the menu — which features appetizers, salads, sandwiches, fresh seafood, pastas and aged steaks — reflects prices that are well within the average family’s budget. The pair said their restaurant will be similar to the Yard House in Colorado Mills in terms of atmosphere.

Private dining, event catering and meeting space are all available at the restaurant, which boasts a capacity of 150 to 175, with additional space for 60 between the rooftop deck and the patio. There will also be a couple of pool tables upstairs.

Rox Bar & Grill will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. On Fridays and Saturdays the kitchen will close at 11 p.m., but the bar will stay open till the early-morning hours if customers desire. The restaurant also plans a Sunday brunch from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. within the first 60 days of opening. Happy hour will be from 3 to 6 p.m.

Mintz said previous restaurants in the space were not geared to the community and would have been a better fit in downtown Denver.

“What they didn’t do was utilize the environmental factors,” Mintz said. “They should have been downtown. We’re putting something here that fits the environment around us.”

Rios said there are 450 hotel rooms in the immediate area, along with a business park, and that there currently aren’t enough nearby restaurants to serve those people. Mintz said the restaurant is “very accessible,” being in close proximity to C-470, and with I-70 only a few miles north and I-25 just a few miles east.

“We want to serve the people in this area, but we also want to be a destination location,” Mintz said.

He said the area is not saturated with restaurants as much as some other parts of town, and with people scaling budgets back with a declining economy, fewer nearby residents will be willing to go to Cherry Creek or downtown for a nice meal and pleasant atmosphere.

“We are a neighborhood destination in the backyard of a lot of people,” Rios said.

Mintz declined to discuss the investment he has in Rox Bar & Grill, other than to say it’s a “major investment.” He said redoing the interior of the restaurant was expensive and time intensive, and that he and Rios wanted to make the space comfortable and inviting to South Jeffco residents.

Mintz, whose kids attended Chatfield High School, and Rios have lived in the area for a quarter-century. And Mintz wants people to know that this isn’t another national chain opening a restaurant in their backyard.

“This is something the community needs,” Mintz said. “I know what it needs. I live here.”

Rox Bar & Grill is at 12684 W. Indore Place (at Ken Caryl Avenue and C-470). Call the restaurant at 303-972-2ROX or visit www.roxbargrill.com.