Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Noodles & Company to move into University Park neighborhood

The menu of food options near DU continues to grow.

The latest addition is a Noodles & Company restaurant that is seeking to open on the north side of Evans Avenue at Williams Street in a location presently occupied by a Blockbuster video store.

“We have plans to open in the fall,” says Matt Wagner, communications manager for Noodles.

The new restaurant would be one of oodles of Noodles operated by the Broomfield-based company. More than 36 are open in Colorado and 207 nationwide. The restaurant boasts “fresh, wholesome, balanced, fast” Asian, American and Mediterranean dishes, and strives to be where pad Thai and whole grain Tuscan linguine can rub elbows with Wisconsin macaroni and cheese and chicken noodle soup.

“For a college student, it’s really appealing,” says development consultant Melanie Criss. “It’s quick, there’s no tip, and it’s healthy. It’s totally Denver. You can get a salad, pasta and meat for six, seven bucks.”

Wagner said the store would be the same as other Noodles stores. “There will be no changes made because we’re at DU,” he says.

One uncertainty is whether the Noodles will have the outdoor patio seating area it is asking the city of Denver to approve. In January, the city rejected property owner Robert Wiss’ request for a 15-20 person outdoor patio, ruling it was too close to nearby residences. Single-family homes are north of the site on Williams Street. A parking lot for DU’s Fisher Early Learning Center is across Williams Street directly east.

Wiss contends that the patio area is already on the east side of the building and was successfully in use when the building operated as a bagel shop. He contends that approval could be granted with conditions that would not upset neighbors. A hearing on the appeal is scheduled for March 17.

Wiss’ request earned tentative endorsement March 11 when the West University Community Association endorsed the patio as long as approval includes limitations on noise and length of operation.

“The previous approval prohibited music and only allowed the patio to operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.,” Criss says. “We want to extend that to closing at 9:30,” and provide “soft music.”

Wagner says the restaurant offers limited beer and wine options in all its stores and has no plans to expand that element of its business.

Wagner says if the patio request is denied, Noodles will re-evaluate its plans for the location, but not necessarily back out.

“It’s not a deal-breaker,” he said.

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