Category Archives: Denver

Snooze Poised to Grow

Denver-born breakfast restaurant group gets New York investor.

snooze-logoA decade ago, when Denver’s Ballpark neighborhood was beginning to take off, brothers Jon and Adam Schlegel established Snooze, an A.M. Eatery. In fact, it was born April 2, 2006, and became an instand hit, sparking a movement toward creative, breakfast-oriented restaurants. It became known for its “atomic age’ mid-20th-century décor, energetic atmosphere and friendly service — and of course, it’s great breakfast items.

There are now 17 Snoozes in Arizona, Texas and California as well as Colorado. The capital and managerial infusion comes from York’s Stripes Group. The big name, food industry-wise, is David Swinghamer, former CEO of Shake Shack. He and two other Stripes Group partners are said to be joining Snooze’s board of directors. Will this corporatize Snooze? Will there still be lines spilling onto the sidewalk? Will it loose its Ballpark soul?

Denver Rises on Top Food Cities List

Mile High City on Zagat’s list of country’s  best cities for food.

Zagat-logoThe Zagat name has been synonymous with restaurant reviews and recommendations since Tim and Nina Zagat launched it in New York in 1982 as a compilation of diner reviews. It’s now an on-line empire with correspondents in what in considers to be worthy food cities. Zagat’s newly released list of “The 26 Hottest Food Cities of 2016.”

The write-up includes the links that Zagat typically inserts into all its posts, and the image accompanying the write-up is of Denver’s hot new Central Market in RiNo.

No. 3: Denver, CO

The best city for singles. For millennials. For entrepreneurs. For outdoorspeople. Over the past few years, Denver has ranked at or near the top of virtually every U.S. index there is; it was only a matter of time before outsiders “discovered” its dynamic dining scene too. This year alone, Nobu Matsuhisa, Gregory Gourdet, Deborah Schneider and Hugh Acheson staked claims here; Jeffrey Wall of Atlanta’s Kimball House is on his way, and so is the team behind New York’s Death & Co.

Meanwhile, there’s no stopping our homegrown talent. Beard award-winners Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson (Frasca) will be opening Tavernetta soon; fellow recipient Jennifer Jasinski (Rioja et al.) is expanding her mini empire with Ultreia. Rising stars like Hop Alley’s Tommy Lee, The Way Back’s Chad Michael George, Joshua Pollack of Rosenberg’s Bagels & Delicatessen and Bar Dough’s Mac MacKissock have swiftly garnered national acclaim. The spotlight that was already trained on our impressive field of food halls (The Source, Avanti F&B, Union Station) just intensified with the opening of The Central Market; Stanley Marketplace will be even bigger. And though Denver’s long been at the craft-brewing forefront, it’s poised to break whole new ground (theoretically, at least) with the legalization of cannabis use in restaurants and bars. Innovationwise, this is the wonderfully Wild West all over again.

Ruth Tobias

Hop Alley Named Eater’s Best Restaurant

Nationnal site’s annual Denver honors announced.

EATER_Awards2013No Colorado chefs/restaurants made it to Eater.com’s 2016  national honors (disappointment again, but no surprise), but Denver and the greater metro area’s list of local awards is out. Click here for the whole four-item list that includes nominees and people’s choice honors.

  • Restaurant of the Year. Hop Alley.
  • Chef of the Year . Kelly Whitaker (Basta and Ash).
  • Most Beautiful Restaurant of the Year. Matsuhisa Cherry Creek.
  • Bar of the Year. B&GC.
  • Game-Changer of the Year. The Denver Central Market.

Five Top Colorado Steakhouses

Open Table’s “100 Best” list includes a handful in metro Denver.

OpenTable-logoOpen Table, the online restaurant reservation site, has unveiled its users’ choices for the 100 Best Steakhouses in America for 2016. Of those, five are in Colorado — all in Denver or the greater metro area. They are:

  • Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, Greenwood Village
  • Elway’s Cherry Creek, Denver
  • Guard & Grace, Denver
  • Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille, Park Meadows, Lone Tree
  • Shanahan’s Steakhouse, Denver

I was alerted to this by a Del Frisco’s spokeswoman, who also noted that this upscale steakhouse chain has three interesting insiders’ features:

  • Secret menu items  that “only those with prior knowledge know to order the off-menu delights, many inspired by Del Frisco’s regulars and local celebrities.”
  • Non-traditional spirits  that vary by each location, offering “some of the rarest vintages and bottles available in the U.S.
  • The recently created recently created Somm Wars pitting “Leaders of Women in Wine” against each other, “with Del being “home to many top female sommeliers and a friendly three-city wine competition, which will become an annual event.” The three cities are Dallas, New York and Chicago.

Renaissance of Rosenberg’s

Five Points bagelry & deli reopening.

001Five months after being burned out in a terrible fire, Rosenberg’s Bagels and Deli is reopening at 6 a.m. tomorrow. Owner Josh Pollack and his 18-person team made good use of the unplanned sabbatical, collectively volunteering some 1,000 hours and raising more than $8,000 for charity.

The new Rosenberg's.
The new Rosenberg’s.

During the  summer, Rosenberg’s hosted pop-ups at the weekly Slow Food Farmers Market at The Source, and at festivals and special events in Denver. All pop-up proceeds went to such local charities as Project Angel Heart, Friends of the Denver Fire Department, Slow Food Denver and Stamp Out Hunger. Each Rosenberg’s staff member volunteered at least 75 hours assisting with food drives, replanting community gardens and feeding the sick for such organizations such as Metro Caring, Project Angel Heart, Food Bank of the Rockies, Denver Parks & Recreation and Extreme Community Makeover. For this commitment to community alone, we should all patronize Rosenberg’s.

A taosted bagel with a cream cheese schmear, lox onion, tomato and capers is about much New York authenticity as is found in Denver.
A toasted bagel with a cream cheese schmear, lox, a bit of sliced onion, tomato and capers is about much New York authenticity as is found in Denver.

But the New York-style bagels and toppings are very good, and Pollack has several other worthy projects underway. These include the City Pretzel cart launched earlier this summer; a second Rosenberg’s coming to the Stanley Marketplace when it openin in Aurora; Lou’s Italian Deli, slated to debut in RiNo in early 201, and what is described as “a joining of forces with The Bagel Store, an iconic, kosher bakery in Southeast Denver.” Not sure what “joining forces” means.

Rosenberg’s is at  725 E. 26th Avenue, Denver.
Rosenberg's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Beard Celebrity Chefs in Colorado

1515 Restaurant and Devil’s Thumb Ranch to host some of the best.

JamesBeardFoundation-logoThe James Beard House in New York is one of America’s culinary holy places, and the James Beard Foundation located there is the keeper of the flame. Dining there is a WOW! experience, no matter who is cooking, and the foundation is increasingly spreading the epicurean wealth with events elsewhere.

Coming right up (October 20) is the JBF’s Celebrity Chef Tour at 1515 Restaurant in Denver, when chef/restaurateur Gene Tang  hosts the  following kitchen wizards in what I understand is the only Denver event this year:

  • Gene Tang, Restaurant 1515, Denver
  • Jeff Cleary, Grateful Bread, Denver
  • Stephen Fried,  Gullo Specialty Foods, Hicksville, NY
  • Laurent Mechin,  St Julien Hotel & Spa, Boulder
  • Mark Monette, Flagstaff House, Boulder
  • Kevin Nashan, The Peacemaker and Sidney Street Cafe, St. Louis
  • Martin Rios, Restaurant Martín, Santa Fe
  • Mindy Segal, Mindy’s HotChocolate, Chicago
    JBF Award–Winning Pastry Chef

Click here to buy tickets, which are $115 per person with U.S. Bank FlexPerks Rewards and $175 for everyone else for the dinner, paired wines, gratuities and taxes.

And at Devil’s Thumb Ranch

On Saturday, November 19, Devil’s Thumb Ranch in Taberbash hosts the sixth annual James Beard Foundation Fundraising Dinner, which in format is similar to the Celebrity Chef Tour. Its purpose is to support the JBF’s scholarship fund.

This year’s event will be held in memoriam of the late Chef Evan Treadwell, who was killed in a boating accident on September 6. Like the mission of the James Beard Foundation, Chef Treadwell was dedicated to mentoring professional chefs. His legacy will be honored by his peers from Denver and by the culinary team at Devil’s Thumb Ranch, who — like Chef Treadwell — demonstrate talent, expertise and most importantly, passion for what they do.  Their inventive dishes will be shared with guests, elegantly paired with wines from Joseph Phelps Winery of Napa, presented by Master Sommelier Damon Ornowski.

Participating chefs are:

  • Alex Seidel, Fruition, Denver
  • Justin Brunson, Ole Major, Denver
  • Jeff Osaka, Osaka Ramen, Denver
  • Paul Reilly, Beast + Bottle, Denver
  • Natalie, Basarov, Devil’s Thumb Ranch

Tickets cost $150 per person for JBF winners and $200 for the rest of us. Call  970-726-5633 to reserve.

Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa is at 3530 County Road 83, Tabernash; 970-726-5632.

Awesome Avelina Launches in LoDo

New LoDo eatery with sterling pedigree.

Avelina executive chef John Broening.
Avelina executive chef John Broening.

Chef John Broening and pastry chef Yasmin Lozada-Hissom, partners in life and in business, are the culinary brains behind Avelina, a big new restaurant carrying a name that means “little bird.” Individually and together, they have produced exquisite fare in a number of restaurants, and Yasmin has been a James Beard finalist/semi-finalist pastry chef more times than I can recall.

Chef de cuisine John Broening and sous-chef Bradley Yard in the large, open kitchen.
Thumbs-up-from chef de cuisine John Broening  (ight) and sous-chef Bradley Yard in the large, open kitchen.

I first encountered Broening at Primitivo, at the time the only fine-dining restaurant in downtown Colorado Springs, and again at Brasserie Rouge in the Ice House before Union Station’s major make-over.  He joined Udi’s on Broadway, where and Yasmin met.  They were in turn at Duo, Olivéa, Spuntino and now Avelina, which is owned by North Carolina-based Urban Food Group out but thanks to them and their team, it has a distinct Colorado flair.

A quiet moment before Avelina's opening party gets roaring.
A quiet moment before Avelina’s opening party gets roaring.

The enormous space. which is proportioned like a big bank with high ceilings, large light fixtures and commodious furnishings, made for a grand setting for the grand opening party. The food — small bites or this and that — was as delicious as  it was beautiful and vice versa. The servers were busy as worker bees ferrying out platter after platter (and beverages as well).  Sometimes they  had time to let guests know what we were eating. Other times not, so here are some uncaptioned food pictures.

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Price check: Shared plates, $5-$16, charcuterie, $11-$12; large plates, $19-$39.

Avelina is one block from Union Station at 1550 17th Street (entrance at Wazee Street),  Denver; 720-904-6711.