BOULDER — Rosenberg’s Bagels & Delicatessen, a popular eatery with locations in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood and in Aurora’s Stanley Marketplace, opened its first Boulder outpost on University Hill last spring to great fanfare. Now, little more than a year later, that location has closed.
Bridge & Tunnel Restaurant Group, Rosenberg’s parent company founded by University of Colorado graduate Joshua Pollack, announced the closure Thursday during Boulder’s City Council meeting.
Pollack, who called the decision to close the Boulder shop the hardest decision of his life, used a public comment session on Boulder’s municipal budget to chide city leaders for what he considers to be deteriorating conditions on the Hill and call for an increased law-enforcement presence in the neighborhood.
“I had high hopes that the Hill would be a place where all members of the community could come, not just college students,” he said. But “vagrant[s]” and “crime” make the neighborhood “an unattractive place for people to travel to.”
BTRG has lost “countless amounts of dollars, and employees have to clean up human feces and urine daily,” at the Boulder shop, Pollack said. “… The police don’t have the funding they need to patrol the neighborhood.”
Rosenberg’s Instagram account posted on Friday that it “was a very hard decision for us to make — but with the continued effects of COVID and current economic times for small businesses, it was the best choice for our company.”
BTRG representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday.
Pollack told the Denver Business Journal in June that buildout of the Boulder shop cost $1.8 million, nearly quadruple the cost of the original Five Points shop in 2013.
The company said the Boulder closure will not impact the other Rosenberg’s locations nor BTRG concepts Famous Original J’s Pizza and Lou’s Italian Specialties.
“Although heartbroken to close our Boulder store, we are still dedicated to our existing restaurants and will continue to provide the best experiences for our guests,” Rosenberg’s Instagram post said.
Rosenberg’s has struggled with staffing throughout the COVID-10 pandemic and subsequent rebound. The Five Points location closed for six weeks this summer because the business could not attract enough workers.
Pollack told the DBJ that in the future, new Bridge and Tunnel restaurants will be smaller and less reliant on human labor.