By Jeff Todd

ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4) – Despite restrictions on capacity and other regulations, new restaurants are still opening and hoping to thrive in Colorado during the pandemic. On Friday, The Bluegrass Coffee & Bourbon Lounge, a popular staple in Olde Town Arvada, will open a second location in the Candelas neighborhood in northwest Arvada.

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“We’ve been patiently waiting just to make sure it’s all correct and everything is put together the right way,” said Josh Schwartz the Manager and a co-owner of The Bluegrass lounge. “We know Candelas has been very patient, as well, waiting for this place to open, with no food or restaurants in the area. It’s definitely a great opportunity for us.”

Schwartz and the other owners started discussing the possibility of a second location two years ago. The original spot has become one of the most celebrated whiskey bars in the country with award winning pizza and all day coffee.

In March, when restaurants were shut down and the pandemic was just beginning, the restaurant sold its extensive high-end whiskey collection to keep the staff employed. A successful summer and persistence have allowed the second location to open.

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“There’s definitely ways to create revenue and keep all our staff, keep the payroll the same. It was also creating revenue for Candelas where we’ve been paying rent since January,” Schwartz said.

A week of a soft opening will culminate with a grand opening on Friday. It will come as more restrictions could be coming for Jefferson County because of high positivity rates for the coronavirus.

“That is something we have to be realistic with. We want to keep safety our number one priority,” Schwartz said.

Construction has taken longer than expected pushing back the opening, but the delay has had silver linings. When job openings were posted, a large qualified pool of people applied.

“A lot of people were eager to work as well too,” said Schwartz.

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“March 16 is the day I got laid off until July 1 is when I started looking for work again,” said Lacey Simmons, who used to work as a tour manager for a band. She’s now hoping her job at the Bluegrass can launch a new career.

“I like the environment they provide, I want to maybe help out with the live music when they get that going again,” she said.

Schwartz says he hopes the restrictions will be temporary over the long-expected lifetime of the restaurant.

“Our owners, Drew and Sheena live out here in Candelas. They’ll be the first ones to tell you how there’s no food and there’s no drinks, and I think that really played into the decision to come out here,” he said.

Jeff Todd