First Look: River and Woods Flows into Boulder Beginning Tuesday, September 6

River and Woods takes over the former John's bungalow but pays homage to its predecessor.EXPAND
River and Woods takes over the former John's bungalow but pays homage to its predecessor.
Danielle Lirette

The tiny Boulder cottage at 2328 Pearl Street that was home to John's Restaurant for decades will open as River and Woods on Tuesday, September 6. The new eatery comes courtesy of restaurateurs Josh and Kate Dinar and chef Daniel Asher, best known in Denver for his previous work spearheading the culinary program at Root Down, Linger and Ophelia's. River and Woods combines country charm with just enough sophistication to avoid kitsch territory. While the dusty blue exterior and pale pine interior may bring to mind grandma's kitchen, Asher's take on homestyle cooking is anything but rough or rustic.

A portion of the menu is devoted to recipes submitted by locals and customers; Asher says about fifteen so far have made it through the vetting process, received tweaks for high-volume production and will rotate through the tight, focused roster. Aunt Pennie's mac & cheese is one of those, made with Cougar Gold white cheddar, a product of the Washington State University Creamery that's actually a high-quality, all-natural cheese, despite coming in 22-ounce cans. And as a tribute to the building's past, Asher has also included John's gnocchi verde, a recipe from the previous restaurant's chef, John Bizzarro.

Along with those, you'll find sections labeled Rivers, Woodlands, Coasts, High Plains and Farmlands & Fields, each with a range of dish sizes and prices. Family dinners are also available, priced per person, including rotisserie chicken, barbecued baby back ribs, main lobster and selections from a daily specials board.

An elk cheddar corn sausage awaits inside this blue corn dog.EXPAND
An elk cheddar corn sausage awaits inside this blue corn dog.
Danielle Lirette

A small bar up front supplies the restaurant with Colorado spirits and brews, a small selection of wines and seasonal cocktails that right now are running toward bright and refreshing concoctions. 

While the interior feels almost like a dollhouse with its low windows (the floors had to be raised for ADA compliance), the backyard patio combines treehouse and clubhouse elements, with rough pine picnic tables, a swath of shaggy artificial turf, a "river of wood" that's actually a path from the back door to the back bar (soon to be installed) made with circles cut from a tree trunk. An outdoor kitchen will supplement the menu with grilled and smoked items and also act as a second chef's counter — the first one's hidden inside just to the right of the main kitchen.

Rivera and Woods will be open daily for dinner and will also soon add brunch and lunch hours. Keep reading for more photos.

The main dining room at River & Woods.EXPAND
The main dining room at River & Woods.
Danielle Lirette
John's gnocchi verde — one of chef Daniel Asher's nods to the past.EXPAND
John's gnocchi verde — one of chef Daniel Asher's nods to the past.
Danielle Lirette
Chef's counter seating near the kitchen.EXPAND
Chef's counter seating near the kitchen.
Danielle Lirette
Chef Daniel Asher and his crew sample some menu items.EXPAND
Chef Daniel Asher and his crew sample some menu items.
Danielle Lirette
Blond woods and simple decorations brighten the dining room.EXPAND
Blond woods and simple decorations brighten the dining room.
Danielle Lirette
Banquette seating in the dining room.EXPAND
Banquette seating in the dining room.
Danielle Lirette
This macaroni and cheese is one of the dishes submitted by Boulder neighbors.EXPAND
This macaroni and cheese is one of the dishes submitted by Boulder neighbors.
Mark Antonation
Another view of the dining room.EXPAND
Another view of the dining room.
Danielle Lirette
The spacious backyard and patio, with an outdoor kitchen and artificial turf.EXPAND
The spacious backyard and patio, with an outdoor kitchen and artificial turf.
Danielle Lirette
Looking back at the restaurant from the back yard. A trailer bar will soon be added.EXPAND
Looking back at the restaurant from the back yard. A trailer bar will soon be added.
Danielle Lirette
Asher fires up a crock of macaroni and cheese.EXPAND
Asher fires up a crock of macaroni and cheese.
Mark Antonation
A tribute wall with names of those who contributed funds to the construction of the backyard area.EXPAND
A tribute wall with names of those who contributed funds to the construction of the backyard area.
Danielle Lirette
The tribute wall was created by artist Kristin FitzGerrell.EXPAND
The tribute wall was created by artist Kristin FitzGerrell.
Danielle Lirette
A simple s'mores dessert scented with pine.EXPAND
A simple s'mores dessert scented with pine.
Mark Antonation
One of the submitted recipes insisted that Cougar Gold was the best for topping mac and cheese, so Asher hunted down the all-natural white cheddar, which comes in cans.EXPAND
One of the submitted recipes insisted that Cougar Gold was the best for topping mac and cheese, so Asher hunted down the all-natural white cheddar, which comes in cans.
Mark Antonation
The foyer at River and Woods.EXPAND
The foyer at River and Woods.
Danielle Lirette
At the front door.EXPAND
At the front door.
Danielle Lirette
A side patio serves as a spillover area during warm weather.EXPAND
A side patio serves as a spillover area during warm weather.
Danielle Lirette
Simple, austere decorations add whimsy.EXPAND
Simple, austere decorations add whimsy.
Danielle Lirette
The door to the back yard and patio.EXPAND
The door to the back yard and patio.
Danielle Lirette
Rustic picnic seating along a split-pine fence.EXPAND
Rustic picnic seating along a split-pine fence.
Danielle Lirette
Vodka-ginger lemonade on the back patio.EXPAND
Vodka-ginger lemonade on the back patio.
Danielle Lirette
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River and Woods

2328 Pearl St.
Boulder, Colorado 80302

riverandwoodsboulder.com


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