Encore for the First Time

Culinary jewel in East Colfax’s most interesting bulding

In May 2005, St. Charles Town Company, a visionary developer,  purchased the vacant Lowenstein Theater and embarked on a $16 million project to turn it into an exciting retail and office complex that respects its midcentury design while meeting 21st-century needs. The Tattered Cover Book Store moved there from Cherry Creek North and Twist & Shout Records located there too, both facing Colfax Avenue.

Bookstore, record store, offices & Encore Restaurant encased in a mid-century modern theater on East Colfax.
The entire building, including the restaurant, celebrates and showcases its original function.

 Encore on Colfax, which tongue in cheekily calls itself “the Colfax Country Club,” is a long narrow space with art on the walls, tables and booths of various sizes, a large glassed wine room (and some privately held wine lockers),  big terrace for warm weather and an open kitchen, presided over by chef/owner (or partner)  Paul C. Reilly. Early reviews were mixed but recent ones were favorable reviews about Encore and the two-part Chef & Tell interview with Reilly in Westword, but I didn’t get there until this past week.

My husband and I are very fond of the parents of my Mile High On The Cheap partner, Laura Daily, and we try to get together when they are in town for the holidays. This time, we chose Encore. It was our first but probably not the last time there. The food is contemporary American, which to me has come to mean a combination classic American comfort food, often with a modern spin, plus dishes inspired by Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Latin and Asian cuisines. The five of us have very different tastes and appetites, and we all found temptations on the Encore menu. Everything was really good, and the presentations were pretty simple but very pretty, if you get what I mean.

Service was a bit hiccupy, especially when we were first seated. We never got bread, and when I asked, the host said they only bring it on request since so much goes to waste. I understand and approve, but I do think the waitress should have offered it, since some of us like a piece of good bread with a soup or salad. Hot tea ordered along with wine never arrived, and two small soups were delivered as large ones — no extra charge when the waitress realized the error. The best part of the service, however, outweighs that. We feared the worst when a party with three small children with very loud voices and no restaurant manners was seated next to us, but they were quickly relocated to a small private dining room across from the kitchen — and next to the restrooms. Good move. Everything else was forgiven.

Note to self: Either 1) Turn on the flash, or 2) Boost the ISO when taking food shots. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don’t. And when I don’t, as at Encore, I’m doing the restaurant and the chef an injustice and  also not showing you how attractive the food really is.

Red lentil soup topped with a roasted onion coulis, olive oil, creme fraiche and cilantro.
Salad plate heaped with greens, cukes, nuts and more.
Flatbread pizza topped with toasted tomatoes, mozzarella & basil.


Underexposed (sorry!) chicken pot pie baked in an adorable iron pot...
..and the pulled pork also suffers from underexposure. Here, it is sided by slaw.


Waldorf salad, one of Encore's American classics.

We ordered a fleet of forks to share this one rich and delicious layered bittersweet chocolate dessert topped with whipped cream alongside a crescent of creme anglais.

Price check:At dinner, starters, $4-$11; salads, $12-$16; “signatures” (burgers and sandwishes with thin cut fries, apple slaw, redskin mashers, or seasonal vegetable); seasonal entrees, $15-$21; desserts, $7. 

Encore on Colfax on Urbanspoon

5 thoughts on “Encore for the First Time”

  1. Glad you had a good meal. We’ve eaten at Encore twice, the last time this summer. Very good food, really interesting & yummy cocktails … and horrible, horrible service both times. We live relatively close and would love to love it, but the last time we went, we swore it off — waited almost 15 minutes to receive a menu and water (while other tables’ servers and a host worked around us, ignoring our periscoping heads, waving fingers and empty table) and a server who was virtually absent. Maybe the burn will wear off one day, because the food was really good.

  2. I wonder how restaurants think that poor service isn’t noticed, or that patrons won’t eat elsewhere, considering the huge competition among eateries.

  3. Sibylle – IMO, some restaurants do not ever let poor service happen (in Boulder, I’d put Frasca, Flagstaff House, Arugula & a few others in that category). Others care and fix problems. Still others are so busy and successful in spite of …. that they can afford not to care, for a while at least. I wouldn’t say we had “poor” service at Encore, just little lapses. And as I wrote, getting the party w/ 3 noisy little ones into a private room made up for the little flaws.

  4. I referenced this post on my Facebook page. Here’s a comment
    from Mindy, “It took me forever to try Encore too and now I’ve been three times. Mustard drizzle on fries, garlic butter on artichokes–and now you can go to the movies next door too!”

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