DENVER - On June 6, 1934, the son of Italian immigrants opened up a restaurant on a long, desolate dirt road on what was then the outskirts of Denver.
That road is now University Boulevard - a very busy street in the metro area. The restaurant, Bonnie Brae Tavern, is still going strong in the neighborhood that it was named after.
Four generations of the Dire Family have worked inside the white-wash building at South University Boulevard and East Ohio Avenue. Likewise, generations of families have crowded into turquoise vinyl booths for lunch and dinner.
Michael Dire says he always knew he would be connected to the place his grandfather Carl opened up during the Great Depression. His earliest memories of being at Bonnie Brae Tavern are from when he was four years old, swinging from the booths with his cousins Ricky and Angela.
Michael's son Patrick also works at Bonnie Brae Tavern. He is thrilled that this day has arrived.
"Back east, there are a lot of family businesses that have lasted a long time," Michael Dire said. "There aren't that many of us out here."
"Eighty years have come and gone, and you're still coming, not just for the food," Angela Dire said. "The food is only a part of it now. You come to propose marriage, wait out power outages, let your kids burn off steam after their soccer games, grouse about the Broncos, celebrate a job promotion and a birthday."
Angela's reasons for Bonnie Brae Tavern gatherings goes on and on.
To celebrate, Bonnie Brae Tavern is hosting a party with prices to match No. 80. From 11 a.m. to closing time, tap beers will go for 80 cents. The asking price for a cheeseburger slider with fries or spaghetti and meatballs is $1.80. A 10-inch pizza goes for $8.
"It's a celebration of so much over the past 80 years," Ricky Dire said. "It is time to celebrate with friends!"
To learn more about Bonnie Brae Tavern and the 80th Anniversary party: visit http://www.bonniebraetavern.com/.
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