Restaurant opens on Main in Longmont
Joe's Longmont LLC - doing business simply as Joe's - opened Feb. 14 at 526 Main St., the space previously occupied by 7 West Pizzeria.
Joe's has a theme that Roberts, 52, knew from Marin County, the scenic peninsula just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. Roberts had opened a pair of restaurants there - in Sausalito in 1989 and Mill Valley in 1993 - before moving to Colorado and launching the eclectic Two Dog Diner in Longmont's Prospect New Town neighborhood in June 2007.
Joe's, he said, is patterned after Marin Joe's in Corte Madera, California - which itself was derived from a landmark restaurant known as Original Joe's in San Francisco's Tenderloin district that opened in 1937 and was destroyed by fire in 2007. The restaurant specialized in Italian dishes and some mainstream American favorites, and became known for very large portions.
"Now there are Joe's in San Jose, Marin, San Francisco - all up and down the coast," Roberts said. "They're all independently owned, but all the same. It's a style of restaurant all its own. An Italian restaurant is an Italian restaurant, but a Joe's is a ... Joe's."
Roberts described the menu at his new Longmont restaurant as "primarily Italian, but we also have burgers, steaks and salads, and we're going to be adding roasts - beef, prime rib, lamb." Roberts removed the pizza ovens and added a mesquite broiler for cooking steaks, fish and chops.
So far, the restaurant only has been open for dinner, but Roberts said it will open for lunch at 11 a.m. beginning next week.
Joe's has a back room - Joe's R&B Lounge - that includes a stage. "We'll have salsa dancing every Friday night back there, a deejay on Saturday nights and some live music at least once a week," Roberts said, "and we'll have a ladies' night on Wednesdays. I'm not sure what my wife's doing with that."
Joe's doesn't have a website yet because Roberts said he wasn't quite ready for big crowds. That plan was dashed on the restaurant's first weekend nights by the buzz spread on his "Joe's of Longmont" Facebook page. "This place blew up Friday and Saturday nights on Facebook," Roberts said. "It seems like Facebook is more important than a website now."
Those crowds confirmed Roberts' need for more employees. "I probably have about 15," he said, "and I need about 30 more - full- and part-time."
Joe's occupies the downtown space that since October 2009 had been the home of 7 West Pizzeria. Owner Ed Behlmann closed 7 West in December, blaming the city's "Alleyscape" project, which he said disrupted his business' two entrances, one from an alley and one from a breezeway.
When Roberts renovated the 7 West space for Joe's, he made a third door - onto Main Street itself - his main entrance. "That door was always there," he said.
Roberts is leasing the space for Joe's from Behlmann but wants to buy it from him.
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