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B.U.F.F. Brothers to open new sports tavern in former Smugs location

To the existing number of campus-area bars and eateries named for DU sports traditions — the Crimson and Gold, the Pioneer, the Stadium Inn — add one more: Boone’s, named for DU’s unofficial pioneer mascot.

Scheduled to open in mid-November on the northwest corner of South Downing Street and East Evans Avenue (in the former Smugs/Fagan’s spot), Boone’s is the latest “neighborhood sports tavern” from owners Rob Lanphier and Tim Gibson, known collectively as the B.U.F.F. Brothers.

The two once owned Denver-area mainstays such as the College Inn, Milo’s Sports Tavern and Pifler’s Sports Bar and Grill, but recently they sold most of their restaurants to the Denver-based Little Pub Co. and took a nine-month vacation. They got back into the game when they opened Ralphie’s (named for the University of Colorado’s buffalo mascot) in Louisville, Colo., in June 2010. Boone’s joins a new B.U.F.F. Brothers roster that also includes Noonan’s in Aurora and FuNuGyz in Parker.

Boone’s will hew close to the feel of its brethren bars — lots of big TVs, a menu loaded with bar basics like wings, burgers and Mexican food, Bloody Marys and brunch on the weekends. Thanks to a friend of Lanphier’s looking to get into the barbecue biz, Boone’s also will serve barbecue on the weekends, featuring meat cooked in a giant smoker out back.

“We pay attention to the food aspect,” Lanphier says. “We’re about an 85-percent scratch kitchen, which means we make a lot of the things in-house as opposed to just buying ranch dressing or refried beans or green chile.”

On the beverage side of things, Boone’s will offer a domestic draft-beer selection augmented by an import or two and a few brews from the Aurora-based Dry Dock Brewing Co., plus a large selection of canned beers.

“People used to associate cans with PBR, white-trash beer — not good-tasting, just cheap,” Lanphier says. “But the craft brewers know that’s the best way for their product to be delivered. Beer is ruined by sunlight and by air.”

Lanphier says he and Gibson make it a point to integrate all their restaurants into the neighborhoods in which they’re located, and he hopes Boone’s becomes a hangout for DU students as well as members of the surrounding community. He’s already got one DU alum on the payroll: recent hospitality grad and assistant general manager Christian Batizy (BSBA ’10).

And while he’s visited most of the watering holes near his newest location, Lanphier says his main focus is staying true to the B.U.F.F. Brothers tradition.

“I don’t want to say I don’t worry about what everybody else does, but I try and worry most about what we do,” he says. “There are enough people around here that if we do what we’re supposed to do, people are going to come.”


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