Frank Bonanno’s Lou’s Food Bar will replace Bones in Denver

It’s been quite the ride for Lou’s Food Bar, the Nashville hot chicken restaurant formerly in north Denver.

Follow along: In 2010, Frank Bonanno opened Lou’s Food Bar at 1851 W. 38th Ave. Six years later, it closed.

In 2018, Bonanno decided to change its name to Lou’s Hot and Naked and opened it as a food stall in Denver Milk Market. That’s still around.

Now, the restaurateur is bringing Lou’s Food Bar back, in a Governor’s Park location currently occupied by his other restaurant, Bones, which is about to close.

Bonanno on Saturday will shutter the decade-old noodle shop at 701 Grant St. Then he’ll take a month to remake it into Lou’s, which should open on July 22. Westword was the first to report the news on Wednesday.

The longtime Denver chef told Westword that he wants to introduce this successful fast-casual spot to Governor’s Park alongside his other neighborhood restaurants and bars: Mizuna, Luca and Vesper Lounge.

He’s right about the food.

In a Denver Post review last year, shortly after Lou’s debuted in its second iteration inside Denver Milk Market, our critic said its hot chicken was one of the highlights of the whole food hall.

“The skin is crunchy and the meat tender, and the bread soaks up some of the zing,” Daliah Singer wrote. “The bacon-speckled collard greens round out a perfect plate.”

For six years, Bonanno ran the popular restaurant from 38th Avenue before deciding to close it in 2017 and sell the prime Sunnyside real estate. It’s now occupied by burrito giant Illegal Pete’s.

Last year, he brought the fried chicken back for a reprise at his 16-stall Denver Milk Market, where the diner-style counter is called Lou’s Hot and Naked and serves chicken exactly as its name describes.

Bones, meanwhile, is known for its noodles — ramen, soba, udon — and steamed buns stuffed with things like pork belly, duck confit and softshell crab.

And if you’re still looking for those menu items after the restaurant’s last service on Saturday, you’ll be able to find some of them at the Milk Market.

Like Lou’s, Bones, too, has a spinoff food hall stall with a racy name. It’s called Bao Chica Bao.

701 Grant St., 303-860-2929;; 5-9:30 or 10 p.m. nightly, only until Saturday