By Shawn Chitnis
DENVER (CBS4) – Punch Bowl Social opened its second location in Colorado Saturday night at the site of the historic Stapleton air traffic control tower.
The special event raised money for a nonprofit feeding those in need across the metro area.
“We’ve been working on this for a long time and really proud of this iconic project,” said Robert Thompson, the CEO of Punch Bowl Social.
This is the tenth location in the country and the largest in the company when you include indoor and outdoor space.
Thompson says it is an exciting time for the Denver-based company to be part of the Stapleton neighborhood with thousands of residents and several infrastructure projects in the works.
Punch Bowl Social – Stapleton is located on Uinta Street near Central Park and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevards. The location is the former home of Stapleton International Airport which closed in 1995.
The opening night celebration was a ticketed event with all proceeds going to “We Don’t Waste.” The charity collects food from 80 businesses that donate what they do not use and lets the organization distribute it to 75 different agencies.
“As a non-profit, we’re always looking to achieve greater awareness in the community with those we look to for support,” said Arlan Preblud, the founder of We Don’t Waste.
The food they collect daily is distributed the same day. Preblud says 40 percent of the food in the U.S. is thrown away while one in six people are food insecure in Colorado along with one in five children.
“What happened to the food before we came onto the scene was it was being thrown into the landfill,” said Preblud.
The two-story restaurant and bar highlights Punch Bowl Social’s “eat-ertainment” concept.
Customers can enjoy food and drinks while they play various games like bowling, shuffleboard, darts, foosball or use a karaoke room.
Customers say it is impressive to see how the owners have transformed the former airport.
“What a feat,” said Monica Stockbridge. “It’s amazing to think that this used to be operational for airplanes and for people traveling.”
The business is a 32,000 square foot project with space for lounges and gathering spots outside while inside there is an arcade.
“I’m having a ball, it’s a lot of fun,” said Kent Miller. “These arcade games take me back.”
The opening week coincides with the Thanksgiving holiday so they have modified hours through Friday. The restaurant will have standard operating hours on Black Friday.
“It really was a challenge, it was a little scary but it was an opportunity to do the right thing with this historic structure,” said Thompson.