Federales — Chicago Mexican restaurant — coming to Denver’s RiNo

As part of a nationwide expansion of its Mexican concept, a Chicago restaurant group is opening its first out-of-state location in Denver.

Four Corners, which owns 13 different brands in Chicago, plans to open its second location of Federales, an open-air taco and tequila restaurant, at 2903 Larimer St. in RiNo next month.

“Federales is our most fun and most successful concept we’ve ever developed,” said Four Corners co-owner Matt Menna. “It’s just one of those concepts that came together really well, and it’s hard to explain. But when you’re in it, it just feels really unique, and I think everyone will get it when they come visit.”

Federales sells a signature shot of tequila that comes in an ice cube, which can then be thrown at a bell that hangs over a fire pit to “Ring the Bell.”

“My partner Andy was visiting a resort in Cabo called El Dorado, and we give them credit,” Menna said. “They had a bar on the golf course with the same setup, but their bell was a lot smaller. We made it much larger, and it’s still hard to hit I guess.”

Four Corners purchased the 0.29-acre 2903 Larimer St. lot in Denver in February 2019, paying $3 million. It was home to a former auto repair shop as well as a vacant home.

Federales, which will open in the late afternoons on weekdays and for lunch on the weekends, will serve Mexican food, including ceviches, burritos, taquitos, tacos and smoked brisket nachos. There will also be frozen margaritas, Mexican beer and other cocktails.

The 8,500-square-foot restaurant features a retractable roof over an island bar, and hangar doors that open up to the 3,500-square-foot patio.

Four Corners plans to open nine more Federales locations, including one in Dallas and three more in Chicago.

“We started looking for cool neighborhoods that are either entertainment or arts-focused,” Menna said. “We think that suits the concept best because of the overall look, feel and energy, so we’re excited that RiNo is our first venture out, and we think it’s a perfect fit.

Menna said the restaurant group does not have any current plans to open other concepts in Denver.

Four Corners co-owners Menna and Andy Gloor are both partners with Chicago-based developer Sterling Bay, whose projects include a $6 billion redevelopment proposal for a 55-acre site in the city known as Lincoln Yards.

The 13 venues that Four Corners owns and operates in the Chicago area, range from Gaslight, a neighborhood sports bar, to game lounge Hi-Point. Four Corners also has an ownership stake in several other establishments, including Chinese restaurant Tao Chicago and the local Small Cheval burger chain.

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