Between overseeing his Denver restaurant empire (which started with TAG but now includes Sugarmill, TAG Burger Bar, Los Chingones and more, with several on the way), cooking at charity events and making celebrity-chef appearances, restaurateur Troy Guard is a hard man to pin down. When word reached us last Friday that he'd be opening a new Chinese-themed eatery to replace Bubu in the Hangar 2 development in the Lowry neighborhood, Guard was traveling, so we couldn't reach him for a comment. But he got back to us today with answers to a couple of questions about Lucky Cat, as the new place slated to open May 20 will be called, and about embracing change in his restaurant group.
Westword: What is the inspiration behind the new Lucky Cat menu and concept?
Troy Guard: I’ve been working on the idea for a while for a concept that served fun, flavor-packed Chinese food reminiscent of those great, traditional dishes I remember when I was a kid, reimagined with a twist. Lucky Cat’s menu is full of really cool, nostalgic Chinese dishes inspired by my time living in Asia. Things like lo mein, fried rice, beef and broccoli, all with an unconventional spin, super-fresh, with lots of vegetables and interesting proteins. And, of course, we’re going to end your meal with a TAG-style fortune in your cookie.
What prompted you to make the change from Bubu?
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I’ve never been averse to change. Switching Madison Street to TAG Burger Bar was one of the best changes we’ve made, and created an even better concept for the neighborhood. The Lowry Bubu space is vastly different from the Larimer Square space, and the Bubu concept thrives in a fast-casual model – not full service. We’re going to open a few more Bubu locations in the next year, and they’ll be just like the location in Larimer Square – small footprint, awesome, fresh bowls, fast service. I’m not afraid to reinvent concepts and re-energize spaces. Lucky Cat is a perfect fit for the space and neighborhood.
Chef Troy Guard with Von Miller at last summer's Taste of the Broncos event.
Westword file photo