Pain Perdu was built on the infamous ruins of a restaurant that had burned down in a suspicious fire almost twenty-five years before. At the time the city of Boulder was dry. The
unincorporated county was wet. The previous restaurant on the site thrived, at least in part, because it was just outside the city limits and thus permitted to serve alcohol. When the city voted itself out of its
pretense of prohibition, the motivation for the populace to drive a few extra miles out of the city for a drink faded rapidly. The old restaurant declined. And then one night it burned.
The site was spectacular, on the crest of a ridge that intercepted the thrusting peaks of the Front Range south of Boulder. The city spread out to the north, the wilderness of the steep foothills dominated to the
west, and to the south, well, to the south was Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Facility.
From the outside the new restaurant was part farmhouse and part spaceship-—the Jetsons meet the
Waltons. Pain Perdu's bar was nicknamed Stonehenge, and the huge vaulted space enclosed selected remains of the previous establishment's landmark stone pillars.