Mensa orders thinking caps

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Some would say that Steve Weil, third-generation owner of Rockmount Ranch Wear in LoDo, is one smart cookie when it comes to the Western wear biz.

But his business brainiac status was put to the test June 26 when Mensa, the international high IQ society, ordered dozens of hats for its July convention in Fort Worth, Texas.

This is not the first time they ordered Rockmount hats, according to Weil, president and grandson of Papa Jack (who was definitely a brainiac but used the term “egghead” liberally).

Visit Denver spokesmodel Rich Grant also picked up one of the simple straw chapeaus on Wednesday.

“I can’t swear that it’s made me smarter, but it’s the smartest looking hat I’ve ever owned,” Grant said. “I wore it while giving a three-mile walking tour to the visiting Japanese travel writers, and was met everywhere downtown with smiles, and compliments on what a `smart’ looking hat it was.  I won’t leave home without it!”

Decker, James tie knot

Hunka-hunka Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker and his equally stunning fiancee and country pop singer Jessie James tied the proverbial knot June 22 in Castle Rock.

The bride posted a handful of photos from the celebration on her Instagram account thejessiejames. The ceremony took place at St. Francis of Assisi in Castle Rock followed by the reception at the impressive Castle Cliff Estates, according to Internet reports.

The cute couple (I’ve met them and they are cover girl and guy gorgeous) met through a mutual friend and struck up a phone relationship.

The newlyweds have jumped on the reality show bandwagon by letting the E! cameras roll to capture their lives and loves on the new show “Love and Other Contact Sports” debuting on E! late summer.

The series will “chronicle the sexy young couple’s road to the altar as they juggle careers, relationships, family and more,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Decker reportedly received permission from Broncos executive vice president of football operations John Elway before selling his soul to basic cable.

“He came in and talked to me about it,” Elway told reporters via www.MaxDenver.com. “I gave it my blessing.”

Photographic memories

Local award-winning photographers Jody and Zach Zorn at Zorn Photography (the folks who just shot James and Decker’s wedding), are launching a donation program to help those affected by the Colorado wildfires rebuild their pictorial histories.

Twenty families will be selected at random after submitting an application — including name, email address, phone number, former address in fire region, number of immediate family members and number of pets — and sending it to wildfire@zornphoto.com.

Applications will be accepted through Aug. 1 with winners notified by Aug. 15. Photo shoots will be scheduled for two dates in late August or early September.

Zorn Photography is seeking gift card donations from beauty, apparel (adults and children), home goods and grocery retailers to present to the families on photo-shoot day. Interested business should email bfdonations@zornphoto.com.

Sweet soiree

Enstrom Candies (really, is there anything better than the World Famous Almond Toffee?) celebrated the grand opening of the new Arvada location, 6770 W. 52nd Ave., Suite C (just north of Interstate 70 and east of Wadsworth Boulevard) on June 29.

The party included free samples of Enstrom World Famous Almond Toffee, Enstrom Premium Ice Cream, Seattle Roasted Gourmet Coffees, Wi-Fi and indoor and outdoor seating.

“We are very excited about the new store,” said Linda Enstrom, Denver area manager. “We can now offer our customers a pleasant environment that is convenient for those quick morning meetings or the quiet pick-me-up coffee break.”

The new store is situated just a few doors down from the previous space. For more information, visit www.enstrom.com.

Alamo Drafthouse appeals to all

You have to give the Alamo Drafthouse an “A” for effort as it tries to appeal to audiences young and old.

The cinema-eatery chain that’s new to Littleton is bringing a series of films, called the “Robots versus Monsters” series. The series began July 1 with the 1933 classic “King Kong,” and includes “The Complete Metropolis” (July 8) and “Mothra” on July 14.

For the younger set, the Alamo Kids Camp is a free event that will show of variety of children’s favorites, such as “Happy Feet,” “Stuart Little” and more.

Visit www.drafthouse.com/denver/littleton for more information.

Kachina Grill hires executive chef

Jeff Bolton has been named executive chef at Kachina Southwestern Grill in Westminster.

Bolton is a Denver native and veteran Sage Restaurant Group Chef, which owns Kachina Southwestern Grill. Bolton had been serving as executive chef at both Kachina and Second Home Kitchen in Cherry Creek the past several months. He took over as Kachina executive chef on June 25.

As executive chef at Kachina, Bolton will focus on developing relationships with local farms, ranchers and dairies to provide the freshest local and authentic products to be used by the restaurant.

“Chef Bolton’s leadership of Kachina is a natural one,” says Sage Restaurant Group co-founder and COO Peter Karpinski. “He is dedicated to creating an authentic Southwestern culinary experience for guests and is an exceptional talent who brings a fresh new energy to Kachina’s kitchen and cuisine.”

Kachina Southwestern Grill is located at 10600 Westminster Blvd. For more information, visit www.kachinagrill.com or call 303-410-5813.

Restaurant RIP

When former Rocky Mountain News and Nation’s Restaurant News reporter Dina Berta walked away from her career covering the restaurant industry, she jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire.

After a 17-year journalism career, Dina opted to join her husband, Frank, in a new culinary venture — Frank’s Kitchen — at 2600 High St. in Denver’s Whittier neighborhood. Doors opened on May 2011, and closed on June 24.

This is what the couple posted on Frank’s Kitchen Diary:

Goodbye and thank you.

The end happened as quickly as the beginning. Just three years ago Frank was sliding a check across a table to our future landlords and we were in the restaurant business.

On Sunday, sitting on the patio of Frank’s Kitchen, the buyer’s accountant was sliding a check over to Frank. It was a down payment to our asking price. And just like that, we closed our restaurant.

For all our stunned customers, friends and supporters let me tell you how we got here. I was not lying when you came in and asked how is the business and I said doing well. After about a year and half it was paying for itself. It probably would have turned the corner in the third year, especially if we obtained a liquor license.

It was in the pursuit of a beer and wine license that we came to a realization about who we are and the kind of life we wanted to live.

The alcohol licensing was going to take six months. We probably weren’t going to be able to serve beer and wine until November. Our lease is up in December. We needed the warm spring and summer months to recoup the investment in the license and product. That meant we would have to sign a new lease, most likely for five years.

The thought of another long-term lease made us both sigh, heavily. A little too heavily.  That’s when we knew. We have worked extremely hard and for long hours day in and day out since we opened. Frankly, we’re tired and did not want to keep going. Some people have the restaurant business in their blood. We had to admit we did not. This was no longer what we wanted to do with our lives.

We listed the restaurant for sale on Craigslist.com.

Joe Van Dyke, aka “Jammin’ Joe,” a blues guitarist and restaurateur from Virginia was our first serious response to the ad. Jammin’ Joe has owned and or operated several restaurants in his life. He carved out a pretty good reputation for barbecue back east and wants to do the same in Denver. He liked our restaurant and accepted our price. He plans to open in early July.

Thank you everyone who supported us in our endeavor. We appreciated it more than you know.  And thanks to our awesome employees. A few are staying on with Joe. May God bless all of you.

Shalom, Dina (and Frank)

Overheard

Eavesdropping on a woman trapped in the massive crowd on the patio outside of Elway’s during the Railbenders’ concert: “Every time I turn around, I see someone I don’t want to talk to.”

Penny Parker’s “Mile High Life” column gives insights into the best events, restaurants, businesses, parties and people throughout the metro area. Parker also writes for Blacktie-Colorado.com. You can subscribe and read her columns (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) at www.pennyparker.blacktie-colorado.com. Send her Mile High Life column tips and eavesdroppings at parkerp1953@gmail.com or at 303-619-5209.