DENVER (CBS4)– Two popular restaurants that were shut down by the City of Denver are temporarily opening at another location.

The idea is to help the more than 100 employees who are now out of work after El Diablo and Sketch wine bar were shuttered last week.

“How can you make ends meet without a job? I can’t and I know there are lots of other staff in worse situations than I am,” said bar manager Nicholas Kennedy.

The popular restaurant and bar were closed after the city determined the landmark building they were in at 1st and Broadway was deemed unsafe.

The restaurant’s owner, Jesse Morreale, moved El Diablo and Sketch to the Rockbar on Colfax. All proceeds from the pop-up location will benefit those employees from the two businesses who are currently out of work.

“What we’re trying to do is raise money for the employees who aren’t collecting a paycheck now because of what the city has done at El Diablo,” said Morreale.

The city says Morreale never completed the required safety and fire updates to the 106-year-old building.

When Morreale conducted unauthorized work on the building without a permit the city shut down the entire building and all the businesses located in it.

Morreale denies the city’s claims.

“It was inspected by zoning, public safety, the fire department, the health department and it was inspected and approved by Excise and License,” said Morreale.

Andrea Burns with Denver Community Planning and Development told CBS4 News, “It’s a safety issue. We are disappointed with the closure. We want businesses to succeed however the path for all businesses to do so is to adhere to building codes.”

As the city’s battle with Morreale continues, unemployed workers like Kenney are hoping El Diablo will return soon.

“I’m not sure what they’re going to do and the same goes for myself,” said Kenney.

While they operate out of the temporary location Morreale will continue to work with the city to reopen the restaurant on Broadway.


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