Dina Castillo has been working on overhauling the former Rosa Linda's Cafe space at 2005 West 33rd Avenue for months, but now she's nearly ready to unveil her new Highland neighborhood eatery, Bremen's Wine & Tap. One of the last steps before opening was hiring an executive chef, which she accomplished by bringing in Matt Selby, a veteran of Vesta and Central Bistro.
Selby and Castillo have known each other for more than fifteen years but have never worked together. Castillo was one of the founders of Stoney's Bar & Grill (whose co-founder, Stoney Jesseph, is an investor in Bremen's) and knew she wanted Selby in the kitchen at Bremen's. The chef's recent departure from Punch Bowl Social and the construction delays at Bremen's turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because it allowed the team to come together before the anticipated late-May or early-June opening. "I feel like it was destiny — or maybe just my perseverance," Castillo notes.
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"We're taking a simple, clean, neighborhood approach to the menu," adds Selby, listing rotisserie chicken, grilled oysters and peel-and-eat sofrito shrimp as some of the highlights of the coming roster. He says there will also be a few Mexican offerings in honor of the neighborhood's Latino roots and as an homage to the Aguirre family, which ran Rosa Linda's for more than thirty years before retiring in late 2015.
The Aguirres still own the building and have been working with Castillo to make the transition to Bremen's as easy as possible. "They're also our landlords, and they're wonderful people," she says.
Castillo adds that the buildout has taken much longer than anticipated because what started out as a simple remodel turned into a complete gut and rebuild of the space. Decades of plaster and paint have been stripped away to reveal brick walls, and the three separate rooms of the old restaurant have been converted into one big dining room with a new bar topped with wood reclaimed from truck-trailer floorboards.
Once open, Bremen's will boast eight wines on tap, daily brunch and what Castillo says will be "a very creative happy hour." The restaurant will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, giving the neighborhood a mid-morning option every day of the week.