Introduction: What is the Imperial Hotel & Restaurant in Denver, CO?
In 2010, The Imperial Hotel & restaurant was purchased by Denver native and Colorado History enthusiast, John Harper. He set out with the intention to restore this historic property to its once former glory. After several years of restoration, earthquakes and many other renovation feats, John has accomplished his goals of bringing this historic building back to life…and then some! For example, in 2009 the entire structure was shaken by an earthquake shock measuring 5.0 on the richter scale. The ensuing damage was so significant that it was deemed irreparable and the building was to be torn down. However, John Harper saw a glimmer of hope when it was revealed that the original blueprints were still available and could be used to guide construction. Later, another earthquake struck and cracked open an unused coal mine shaft on May 25th, 2017 that had been capped for safety in 1946. This too was a catalyst for the building’s revival. John envisioned the property being able to use this as a new entrance and patio, while also finally opening up parts of the building that had been inaccessible due to safety concerns.
Background on the History of Imperial Hotel & Restaurant
The Imperial Hotel was built in 1901 by the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. It was established to provide basic accommodations for railroad employees, as well as to provide western style cuisine (chicken fried steak, porterhouse steaks, etc.) to the growing population of Denver. In 1912, the Rio Grande Western Railroad acquired the Hotel, and it remained their property until 1987. After 1987, it was operated by a succession of different owners. Throughout these various ownerships, the Imperial has endured many renovations and changes over time.
In 1993, the Imperial Hotel was purchased by “Cripple Creek Development Group” a group of investors that formed for the purpose of renovating and repairing the Imperial. In 1994, Cripple Creek Development Group hired “Architectural Artifacts” to work on the interior of the building. Architectural Artifacts did an excellent job restoring and preserving some most magnificent architectural pieces of furniture and art while they were also coordinating with Historic Denver Society to receive a preservation designation. During its renovations, the Imperial Hotel was featured as a part of “Denver Past” publication, and Architectural Artifacts was awarded the “Larkin Design Award” by Historic Denver Society for their work in restoring the building.
In November 2003, the Imperial Hotel was purchased by Meritus Hotels, Inc. With this purchase, Meritus Hotels brought back the “Imperial” name to the hotel. The current ownership of Meritus Hotels continues to restore and preserve many of the architectural features of this historical landmark building.
Meritus Hotels will be continuing to restore and preserve the building, coordinating with Historic Denver Society to receive a preservation designation. Meritus is also working on establishing the “Imperial” as a premier Historic Hotel within Denver.
How to Get to the Imperial Hotel & Restaurant in Denver, CO
The Imperial Hotel & Restaurant is located in the heart of downtown Denver, Colorado on 13th Street and Broadway. For those of you who are able to drive, I would recommend parking in the parking garage at 12th & Broadway. It is underground, but has a paid parking lot and valet service. This is a small price to pay for such a nice historical restaurant! For those of you who can’t drive, the nearest bus stop is located at 12th & Stout (Here’s a bus schedule if you wish to use public transportation). For those of you who are staying in Denver, there is an Uber that is available!
UPDATE 6/13/17: The Imperial Hotel & Restaurant is no longer located at 13th and Broadway. It has since moved to its new location as of June 10th and will still be offering the same delightful service as always!
The Imperial Hotel & Restaurant is proud to offer their bar along with a lunch and dinner menu. The restaurant prides itself on the most satisfying dining experience in all of Denver, Colorado. You can expect the highest quality ingredients in their food, along with the friendliest staff members. You won’t be disappointed!
Getting Around in Imperial Town
The hotel is located in the heart of downtown Denver. The majority of the facilities are walkable. However, there is a shuttle that frequently runs from the hotel from multiple locations around downtown. The hours for shuttles vary, but generally run approximately every 15 minutes and provide service to various destinations in Denver including the 16th St Mall, Union Station, University of Colorado Hospital and more! The shuttle stops at several different locations around town. The shuttle schedule can be found online. The hotel is also located within close proximity to two major attractions: Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium and Coors Field. If you are interested in going to a game, contact the hotel and ask about discounted tickets for visitors. You must mention that you are a guest of the hotel to be eligible for this discount.
Inside the 4-Star Grub of an Empire-Tested Eatery – The Food and Drink of the Best Traditional American Cuisine
The interior of the Imperial Hotel is a mini-museum of old world-style architecture. The very first thing you will notice in the main dining room is a large chandelier. The chandelier was originally located over the restaurant’s lobby and was one of only a handful in existence. It was found in an abandoned Denver mansion, and was re-fashioned by the hotel’s designers to be hung right over the restaurant’s dining area. Next, you will notice the beautiful Wine Room. The Wine Room is a private room that can accommodate up to 40 people and is available for special events. The restaurant also has a full bar that serves a full menu of bar foods at lunchtime! Smoking is not allowed inside the restaurant, and the hotel’s front desk provides complimentary non-smoking rooms throughout the hotel.
The Wine Room is available for special events and private parties. The Wine Room can be rented for dinner or just drinks on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings. On special weekends (weddings, etc), additional rental fees may apply.
The restaurant is open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Brunch can be enjoyed on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and dinner is served on the weekends from 5 to 9 p.m.
Reservations can be made by calling (719) 667-2211.