Broken Rice Adds Polished Fast-Casual Asian to South Colorado Boulevard

Crispy beef on broken rice.EXPAND
Crispy beef on broken rice.
Mark Antonation

A new fast-casual restaurant called Broken Rice opens today at 1390 South Colorado Boulevard, offering a variety of Vietnamese, Thai and Chinese dishes in an upscale, fast-casual setting. While Broken Rice is run by a California-based company, this is the first location in the country.

Ric Gordon, president of Broken Rice, explains that he and his partners chose Denver because "we are a more business-friendly state." Gordon, a graduate of the University of Denver, also notes that Colorado is the birthplace of the fast-casual restaurant movement and that rents, construction costs and labor are much more affordable here than in California.

The entrance to Broken Rice faces Colorado Boulevard just north of Arkansas Street.EXPAND
The entrance to Broken Rice faces Colorado Boulevard just north of Arkansas Street.
Mark Antonation

The menu covers a selection of rice and noodle bowls, pho with four housemade broth options (curry, chicken, beef and vegetable), salads and sandwiches. Gordon explains that broken rice was once considered the leftovers of the rice-milling process, but it became favored  by street vendors because it cooks quickly and give an almost creamy textrure, making it a staple in Vietnam and other Asian countries.

A big bar pours Colorado craft beers and a selection of house cocktails created by mixologist and cocktail-book author Kim Haasarud; Asian flavors like yuzu, five-spice, ginger and matcha green tea give the drinks a fresh, exotic twist.

Gordon describes the concept as "polished fast casual," and a quick look around the space reveals that polish. Broken Rice has some serious financial backing, with Bobby Baldwin (CEO of MGM Mirage Resorts), Guy Laliberté (founder of Cirque du Soleil), and Chamath Palithitaya (part-owner of the Golden State Warriors) on the roster of primary investors. While the restaurant is small, attention has been paid to the details, including a focus on technology. That means USB ports and charging stations at nearly every seat in the house, free wi-fi and a high-tech POS system that keeps track of your location in the restaurant for food and drink delivery.

Chicken-filled potstickers.EXPAND
Chicken-filled potstickers.
Mark Antonation

Broken Rice opens today at 11 a.m. and will continue lunch and dinner service Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., staying open until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. A weekday happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. offers $5 cocktails, wines, beers and food items, including an impressively sized bowl of pho. Prices on the regular menu top out at $12, and there's a pick-two option that comes with a cup of pho, a side and a half-sandwich for $8.95.

Keep reading for more photos of Broken Rice.

The bar is separated from the kitchen by a glass wall.EXPAND
The bar is separated from the kitchen by a glass wall.
Mark Antonation
Chicken satay skewers.EXPAND
Chicken satay skewers.
Mark Antonation
Curry pho with chicken.EXPAND
Curry pho with chicken.
Mark Antonation
Four house cocktails: yuzu lemonade, matcha green tea latte, pomegranate crush and basil-cucumber squeeze.EXPAND
Four house cocktails: yuzu lemonade, matcha green tea latte, pomegranate crush and basil-cucumber squeeze.
Mark Antonation
The interior is well appointed, especially for a fast-casual restaurant.EXPAND
The interior is well appointed, especially for a fast-casual restaurant.
Mark Antonation
The grilled pork banh mi is one of several sandwiches on the menu.EXPAND
The grilled pork banh mi is one of several sandwiches on the menu.
Mark Antonation
A five-spice ginger mule.EXPAND
A five-spice ginger mule.
Mark Antonation
Pad Thai.EXPAND
Pad Thai.
Mark Antonation
Unlike at many fast-casual restaurants, the order counter at Broken Rice is the first thing you see upon entering.EXPAND
Unlike at many fast-casual restaurants, the order counter at Broken Rice is the first thing you see upon entering.
Mark Antonation
Inside Broken Rice.EXPAND
Inside Broken Rice.
Mark Antonation
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miles
Broken Rice

1390 S. Colorado Blvd.
Denver, Colorado 80222

720-399-66998

enjoybrokenrice.com


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