Newly inducted Hall-of-Famer to open restaurant

Updated: February 2, 2004, 8:36 AM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway is teaming up with two experienced restaurateurs to open a steak-and-seafood eatery in Denver's upscale Cherry Creek Mall.

The name hasn't been announced and Elway declined to offer any details, except to say it would not have a sports theme.

"It's going to be a nice restaurant," he said last week. "It's not a short-term investment."

Elway will work with Tim Schmidt, who owns 15 Black-eyed Pea Restaurants and two Hacienda Colorado restaurants, and Tom Moxcey, who was chief executive officer of Louisville-based Rock Bottom Restaurants when it ran restaurants under the Rock Bottom Brewery, ChopHouse and Old Chicago names.

Moxcey was also an executive at Denver-based Vicorp Restaurants, which runs Village Inns, ran the old Cork and Cleaver in Boulder, and ran Diane's Good 2 Go, a small chain of gourmet take- out restaurants that closed three years ago.

Experts warn that Elway may have a rough time in the restaurant business.

"These places have a high failure rate," said Bob Goldin, executive vice president of Technomic Inc., a Chicago restaurant consulting firm. "For every one that works, it seems like there are 10 that haven't."

Despite his star power in Denver, Elway has had mixed business success since he left the Broncos in 1999.

He put his name on Wayne Huizenga's AutoNation car dealerships with moderate success. But he also backed the now-defunct, a failed chain of coin laundries and, a bankrupt Latino Web portal. The football legend now runs the Colorado Crush, an arena football team.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press