From historic mortuary to ultra-cool eatery, Denver’s Linger Eatuary has made quite the transition during its almost century in existence.
The hip and usually-packed Denver restaurant Linger is as open as a fresh grave about the building’s history as it used to be a famed mortuary. The site is the former base of the Olinger family’s funeral empire which at one point was responsible for organizing half of Denver’s funerals, even once housing the body of Buffalo Bill Cody for six months in 1917, while Wyoming and Colorado argued over who would provide his final resting place (Colorado won).
When the space was purchased by its new owners, they immediately embraced the spot’s morbid history. The rooftop neon sign that used to proclaim “Olinger Mortuaries” was barely even altered, with the capitol “O” simply being turned out and the word “mortuaries” being slightly altered so that the current sign reads, “Linger Eatuaries.” The funerary history continues on in the interior as well where the old A/C units have been turned into hanging lamps, glass-topped metal conveyor belts are used as tables, and a church pew is used as the host’s stand. The ground floor boasts large garage doors that once welcomed corpse-laden hearses and now open simply to offer a breeze for summer diners. Below the restaurant in the basement level is now a mixed use retail space that includes an athletic club somewhat ironically, as this space was once Olinger’s embalming space where the bodies were preserved.
Other deathly touches abound in the eatuary such as water served from formaldehyde bottles and a picture from one of cinema’s more touching paeans to death, Harold and Maude. To the restaurant’s credit, all of the morbid accents do nothing to make the site unappetizing, possibly because of the constant reminder that you can’t eat when you’re dead.