DENVER (CBS4) – A Black-owned investment firm is helping bring new restaurants to Welton Street, while preserving the culture of Denver's historically Black neighborhood. The Flyfisher Group, led by Matthew Burkett, launched a food and beverage group to support restaurants in Denver's Five Points neighborhood.
"Five Points is a tight-knit community with the vision and ability to create a thriving business environment during this pandemic and beyond," said Burkett. "Now more than ever, we must do what we can to support one another and protect the legacy of Five Points so that future generations can enjoy the neighborhood that we've worked hard to preserve and revitalize. We're committed to equipping small business leaders with the tools they need to succeed here."
TFG has been investing in the Five Points community for more than 20 years. The firm's new food and beverage group will be led by President of Operations Ryan Cobbins, who also owns Coffee at The Point, Corporate Chef Daniel Young "Chef D," and general manager Greg Topel, founder and CEO of EVG Hospitality.
The Flyfisher Group is introducing new concepts to the area. MBP will take the place of Dunbar Kitchen and Tap House. Young hopes MBP will become a go-to gathering place for happy hour and dinner with a menu featuring contemporary American cuisines.
Down Welton St., another TFG-invested restaurant, Mimosas, will open as a vibrant brunch spot.
"We just finished the menu last night," said Young. "We're drawing people to the neighborhood, and we're utilizing the light rail like it was meant to be from the beginning."
Young has been in the Colorado restaurant industry since the 80s. He wanted to bring new life and new menus to Five Points over 20 years ago, but the capital wasn't there. He says Burkett sees the value of investing in Five Points. He hopes to see people eating in Mimosas by the end of July.
"I've had white residents speak to me about what's going on there. I've had Black residents almost protest, explain that this used to be a Black establishment. When I explain to them that it still is, they're relieved," Young said.
He and Cobbins say it's time to change the perception of what a Black-owned business looks like.
Cobbins, who is approaching his 10-year anniversary for Coffee at the Point, made an effort to keep the history of Five Points in his restaurant. As a member of the Five Points Business Improvement District, he says it's a priority to keep Denver's Black culture prevalent in the area.
"We want to make sure that we continue to tell the story, but you can't control who comes into the neighborhood to set up here and there. You're rolling the dice on whether or not they care about the culture in this neighborhood," said Cobbins. "These new concepts are designed to complement popular local gathering spots and continue the neighborhood's tradition of building community through intentional connections."
Cobbins and Young hope Five Points will attract people looking not only for good food and socialization, but a deeper conversation about the history of the area. Young wanted to create a food outlet that appealed to and is affordable for the entire neighborhood.
"All of us wanted to incorporate businesses that are respectable, that everyone wants to dine in, and are for the most part, are Black-owned. We want to show them we actually have the ability to run businesses and not rely on federal grant," said Young. "I want people to recognize that African Americans have stepped up on the block and we're back."
He says he's been watching and learning how to run a safe and successful restaurant during COVID-19. Mimosas and MBP both have patio space to assist with social distancing.
For more information about The Flyfisher Group, visit www.theflyfishergroup.com.
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