Silva came to Denver in the ’50s with his father, mother and eight siblings; the family had $500 in life savings and dreams of opening a restaurant. They leased space at 2010 Larimer Street that had previously been occupied by a Japanese jeweler and opened Monterey House #1. By the ’70s, Silva had taken over the spot. He changed the name of the restaurant to La Casa de Manuel and filled the modest space with a half-dozen folk-art murals painted by Jose Castillo, a bellman at the Brown Palace.
For two decades, he ran the place on a month-to-month lease, watching as the neighborhood changed with the establishment of the…
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