Denver-born breakfast restaurant group gets New York investor.
A 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?
24 Carrot Bistro serves great cocktails & sublime food.
Until last night, I’d only eaten one dinner in Erie — years ago at my friend Kuvy Ax’s birthday dinner at a now-defunct Mexican restaurant. It was at Kuvy’s behest that I ate there again last night. This divine dinner was at 24 Carrot Bistro, a farm-to-table restaurant with a stellar pedigree. The eatery’s name comes from a play on words — 24 karat relating to the finest gold and carrots referencing a key ingredient in fine classic cuisine.
Not only are partners Bianca Retzloff and Kevin Kidd both chefs, but Bianca is the daughter of Mark Retzloff, founder and owner of Alfalfa’s Market (now Markets, because there are three). Between them, Bianca and Kevin had worked at Alfalfa’s and in various Boulder County restaurants (SALT, Colterra, Jax and others) before crossing the line to Weld County and Erie. This town has exploded with housing developments, but it lacked any good restaurants until July 2015 when 24 Carrot Bistro opened in an 1880 building, originally a butcher shop and most recently a steakhouse. Now exposed brick walls and exposed joists create a warm, rustic and hospitable look.
A blackboard near the entrance lists the local vendors they buy from, but being from Scituate, Mass., executive chef Kevin Kidd has a soft spot for fresh seafood so he has it flown in six days a week.
Price check: At dinner, appetizers, $7-$12 plus $14 for an artisanal cheese plate; salads, $6-$8; small plates, $12-$17; entrées, $17-30 plus $12 for a Bistro Burger; desserts, $7-$8 plus just $2 for a daily selection of mini-bites and ice cream/sorbet tastes.
24 Carrot Bistro is at 578 Briggs Street, Erie; 303-828-1392.
Not surprisingly, Boulder’s stellar Frasca again makes the list. The restaurant continues to dazzle Bill Addison, the site’s restaurant critic. Click here for his 2014 review and ode to Frasca partner and master sommelier Bobby Stuckey.
Mile High City on Zagat’s list of country’s best cities for food.
The 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.
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.
Perhaps an anomaly — or perhaps wait staff has gone downhill.
I’m not much of a shopper, but I do my modest best to support local independent businesses on Small Business Saturday, an annual antidote to Black Friday frenzy. A downtown Boulder bead shop had the earring wires I needed, one bookstore always has good deals on calendars, another carried the Pam Houston book I wanted to read and one of the two arts coops had a jigsaw puzzle I had my eye on to bring as a host/ess gift to friends’ annual holiday open house.
Even that little shopping made my husband and me hungry (in our defense, we’d eaten tiny breakfasts and hadn’t had lunch). We decided on Centro Latin Kitchen, whose weekend brunch was still in effect. We took a table on the covered patio, ordered drinks and food. The drinks — mercifully strong enough to mellow the irritation that followed — were more or less promptly delivered, but when it came to food, we waited and waited and waited. And did I mention that we waited? One adjacent table turned over completely, but our food was nowhere in sight — and neither was our server. Abducted by aliens?
We finally flagged down a runner and asked where out food might be. That appeared to speed things up. When the waiter himself brought our order, he said he was “sorry” for the delay. I replied, “We’re even sorrier.” He offered to comp a dessert.
From the dessert menu, we selected tres leches cake, served cold so it should be delivered quickly — especially since by that time, the brunch crowd had gone. But again, we waited and we waited and we waited. Again, invisible waiter. This time, we flagged down a busser.
Again, I expressed my/our frustration at the disappointing service. The waiter offered to get the manager, who seemed able to determine from the register tape that we weren’t blowing smoke about our long waits. He gave us some reasons, and I said that it might have been nice it the waiter has stopped by our table with a work of explanation or at least apology. He agreed and offered to comp all the food.
For what it’s worth, Centro’s nom de cuisine is the ponderous Centro Latin Kitchen & Refreshment Palace, which no one uses. Not ever,
Price check: At weekend brunch, small plates, $3-$8; tacos, $4.5; specialties (i.e., entrees), $7-$18; sides, $1-$5; desserts, $3-$6.
Centro is at 950 Pearl Street, Boulder; 303-442-7771.
No 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.
When a group of us was picking where to go for First Bite Boulder, my town’s annual restaurant week, we picked River and Woods because my husband and I were the only ones who had previously eaten there and because there were more than three choices for the first and second courses — though just two for the dessert course.
A couple of us ordered from the regular menu, but I’m just posting pictures from the FBB menu here. Sorry about the murky colors and fuzzy focus; just didn’t want to use the flash in this atmospheric restaurant.
Click here for a previous post about the then-newly opened River & Woods, which is at 2328 Pearl Street, Boulder. Note: For reasons known only to itself, Zomato has moved River and Woods to Denver’s Capitol Hill — at least as for as its icon is concerned. I’ve alerted the site manager(s) but as of today, it hasn’t been corrected.
Claire Walter's Colorado-oriented but not Colorado-exclusive blog about restaurants, food and wine events, recipes and related news. For address of any restaurant, click on the Zomato icon at the end of the post.