My friend Adrian told me he’d meet me at DuRozz Restaurant & Lounge—according to its Twitter profile the “New Number ONE hot spot for Denver’s Sexy & Classy”—on one condition: “Just make sure you have your soul sistah vibe going.”

Pointing out that I’m a 40-year-old Jew from Oklahoma, I nonetheless vowed to give it a shot.

After all, I was determined to do what it took to see Suya Grill, aka DuRozz’s kitchen, for myself: if the lunch & dinner menus were any indication, it was a doozy. My eye had initially been caught by the array of Southern & soul-food favorites like pork neck bones, turkey necks & cornbread, fried catfish & banana pudding; it practically popped out at the rest of the repertoire, which veered from Mexican snacks to Indian classics like tandoori chicken “cooked in the traditional clay oven”—did they really have an onsite tandoor?!—to the namesake Nigerian dish of shish kebabs known as suya. I couldn’t wait to figure this all out.

So I won’t make you wait either. Long story short: whatever the free-wheeling ambitions with which the kitchen began, it’s since set its sights rather more narrowly—the menu we were handed was mainly a selection of all-American grub, though a few remnants of soul & Southern tradition remained. One glance around the place suggested why: with a team of poker players occupying the main dining room & the barroom dance floor spilling with rug-cutters, DuRozz indeed appeared to be quite the hot spot for many a fun-loving lady & gent—but not quite for hungry ones.

Actually, everything from the genial bartender’s uncertainty about the availability of menu items to the fact that our food was served in styrofoam containers indicated that the kitchen is in the midst of a major transition. Whether it’s between chefs or breaking in new ones or doing away with them entirely to morph more fully into a nightclub, reviewing what I ate in much detail wouldn’t be fair. So what am I doing? Hoping hard they’ll ultimately be frying up chicken gizzards

& okra

& pork tenderloin smothered in gravy alongside sweet potatoes & collards

& more where those came from with equal amounts love & pizzazz.

Because I’ll need sustenance to see me through the endless rounds of poker I hope to prove classy enough to be allowed to play here. Whatever my own vibe may or may not be, DuRozz has got lively, soulful atmosphere to spare.

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