History of The Sink
90 years of history and tradition
From prohibition to poodle skirts, disco to techno, Coolidge to Obama, The Sink has seen it all, and endured. It has endured because of its culture of community. The Sink belongs to the millions of patrons who have visited the restaurant over the past 90 years. Patrons that have signed the ceiling, visited on gameday, had a Sinkburger and made it "their" place. It has certain Sinkness to it, and therein lies our story...
And here's the real story, as we've heard it...
The Sink was originally a European-style restaurant named Summer's Sunken Gardens. Its focal point was a large, sunken fountain in the middle of the dining room. To its patrons, the restaurant was fondly nick-named "The Sink". After purchasing Summer's Sunken Garden, CU alum Joe Pudlick officially changes the name and runs The Sink from 1940-1954.
The Sink would change hands again in 1954 when business partners Joe Beimford and Floyd Marks purchased the restaurant. By the time Joe Beimford sold to Floyd Marks a year later, the food had disappeared altogether. Marks brought in his son-in-law, Herb Kauvar, in 1958 and the two introduced the now famous Sinkburger and its signature Sink Hickory Sauce. Our most famous employee, Robert Redford, was a janitor at The Sink in 1955.
Herb and his sons kept The Sink in the family for the next 34 years. Throughout those years, legions of devoted patrons and fans of The Sink have paid homage to the CU ritual of a beer and a Sinkburger.
Early on, the twisted talents of beatnik artists, Mike Dormier and Llloyd Kavich(three L's just for the L of it), produced the unique and timeless art that characterizes The Sink. The trademark Sink Angel, sent off to university “pure of mind and clean of body,” and then "transformed" by university life (and The Sink!) into a "worldly" soul, has been watching over The Sink and its patrons ever since.
But the times, they were a changin', and months of turmoil in the early 70s signaled the end of flower power and the temporary rise of the Polyester generation. The Sink changed too, and for the next 15 years, The Sink went through life as Herbie's Deli. Although Sinkburgers were kept on the menu, the art was covered up with pine boards, patiently waiting for The Sink's loyal patrons to demand its return.
In 1987 the state of Colorado raises the drinking age to 21. Up to this point only 3.2 beer has been served though Herbie's Deli now has a full bar. In 1989, the Hill becomes a college-centric location. At the urging of his sons, Kauvar "de-models" the deli and re-opens as The Sink. During that summer, Sink-Rats the world over (some famous such as former Sink janitor Redford, others not so famous), rejoiced at the reincarnation of The Sink.
Llloyd and his sidekick, Streamline the Rat Dog, were once again pressed into service to restore the counterculture artwork which had come to define The Sink.
In 1992, the legacy was passed on to another family when the Heinritz's purchased The Sink. Brothers Mark, Chris and James invested heavily in the careful upgrade and restoration of The Sink. They also introduced Ugly Crust Pizza and the famed Buddah Basil Pie. The Sink also supports the growing craft beer movement by serving local and emerging micro brews.
In the summer of 1995, The Sink went through yet another facelift, which brought the addition of 18 draft beer lines and an upgraded kitchen. Llloyd and Streamline came back once more to restore and create the artwork now living in The Sink.
In 2006, The Sink committed to being green by running on 100% using 100% wind power. Other efforts include: composting, low-flow water fixture and energy efficient light bulbs. Results are 30% reduction in water usage and a 9% drop in energy usage.
The “world-famous” aspect of The Sink grew in 2012 with a feature on The Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” and a surprise visit from President Obama.
In 2013, Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert, reminiscent of The Sink’s Angel/Devil, brought their “Good vs. Evil” tour VIP party to The Sink.
In 2013, The Sink turned 90 years old. We are proud to celebrate all the tradition, memories, patrons and employees that have made The Sink an institution in the Boulder community.