"We're pretty excited," says chef Matt Selby of Central Bistro & Bar's new look and new menu. "It's coming down to the wires, as always."
The restaurant at the edge of LoHi, where Selby landed a year ago after leaving Corner House, has been popular since Isiah Salazar opened the place in the summer of 2012, but there were problems. Specifically, acoustic problems. "The restaurant got so loud," Selby says. "When enough people tell you, 'Hey, we can't hear each other, we have to do something." And as long as they were going to do "something," they decided to do more. They've painted and redecorated the spot in a way that still "stays within the brand," but plays off its location in north Denver, adding historic photographs while still keeping that "HOT" sign that came from the Regency Hotel, owned by the Salazar family.
The 'HOT" sign, shown here in its original installation, came from the Regency Hotel.
"We came up with ways to make it work," says Selby. "The 'HOT' looked like an afterthought. This will turn turn haters into lovers."
To help with the love, Selby has created a pre-spring menu that bridges the seasons, and the crew has "brought in some new wines, and polished ourselves up with some service training," Selby selves. When they closed the restaurant for renovations in early March, Salazar, Selby and staffers took advantage of the break to visit other restaurants in the area. "Our neighborhood is killing it right now," Selby notes, but he thinks that all the changes make Central more than competitive. "We are going to make you happy," he promises.
Sign at Central this past weekend.
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