NIWOT — In just under a month, Gene Fuller has become a regular at the Niwot Tavern.
The tavern, formerly Flanagan’s Pub, re-opened Monday under a new name and new ownership, at 7960 Niwot Road in the Cottonwood Square shopping center.
Owners Tony Santelli, Bob Russell and Gary Zarlengo bought out the pub 30 days ago and closed it for four days to renovate the restaurant and reopen it as the Niwot Tavern.
Seated at a quiet table in the dimly lit restaurant Monday, Fuller celebrated the grand opening of the tavern with a hearty plate of meatloaf, mashed potatoes and vegetables.
“I’ve been coming here since these guys took over,” Fuller said, between bites. “I think they’ve got a great niche. You can come here and bump elbows with everybody in the community.”
Fuller lives in St. Louis but is moving his business consulting outfit to Niwot, after having worked in town the past six months. He has formerly lived in Estes Park and Vail.
He said he likes not having to drive to Boulder or Longmont to have a good meal.
“The thing about the Niwot Tavern is it’s more than just a neighborhood joint. It’s a nice restaurant you can bring your family to.”
And that’s just what Santelli and his partners were going for.
“We felt that Flanagan’s had some very, very strong points. The bar was a cool bar,” Santelli said, pointing out that he and his partners have changed little about that part of the restaurant.
Santelli said he, Russell and Zarlengo want to keep the bar’s existing clientele while attracting new patrons who want to visit to have a nice meal.
“We think there is a market here for casual, neighborhood dining,” he said.
While nearly every table at the restaurant was filled Monday night, some regulars at the bar celebrated a bit more obviously.
With loud eruptions of laughter and frequent hugs, Jacque Stauffer, Ben Hedgpeth and Jodie Allen — who frequented the spot when it was Flanagan’s Pub — said they plan to continue visiting the spot under its new name.
And Fuller said he hopes to see regulars continue to frequent the tavern.
Noting some former patrons’ fear of the change, Fuller advised: “Change is important. For whatever reason the old owners decided to leave, these guys have come in and brought something new and vibrant.”
The tavern is celebrating its grand opening this week with 20 percent of its proceeds being donated to the Disabled American Vets of Colorado.
Amanda Arthur can be reached at 303-684-5215, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
The Niwot Tavern is located at 7960 Niwot Road in the Cottonwood Square shopping center. It is open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and for dinner from 4 until 9 p.m.
For more information, call the tavern at 303-652-0200, or on the Web at www.niwot