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 nicknamed “The Sink.” After purchasing Summer’s Sunken Gardens, CU alum John Pudlik 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 purchase the restaurant. By the time Joe Beimford sold his shares 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 (Boulder’s Best Burger) 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.
Early on, the twisted talents of beatnik artists, Mike Dormier and Llloyd Kavich (spelled with three L’s just for the L of it), produced the unique and timeless artwork that characterizes The Sink. The trademark Sink Angel, sent off to university, represents those who are “pure of mind and clean of body,” and then “transformed” by university life (and The Sink!) into a “worldly” soul (The Sink Devil.) The Sink Angel and Devil have 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 1989, at the urging of his sons, Kauvar “de-models” the deli and re-opens as The Sink. Llloyd and his sidekick, Streamline the Rat Dog, were once again pressed into service to restore the counter-culture 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 Buddha Basil Pie.
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.
In 2006, The Sink committed to being green by running on 100% wind power. Other efforts include: composting, low-flow water fixtures and energy efficient light bulbs. Results are 30% reduction in water usage and a nearly 10% 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 Barack Obama in April 2012. In April 2013, chefs 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.