Laura Shunk, who chose Fruition for a farewell dinner with her parents and a last review in this week's Westword, isn't the only one who considers that restaurant a go-to spot. Foodies from Chicago who've eaten around the world focused on Fruition as their number-one dining destination in Denver, and finally made it there with their Denver hosts on Tuesday, June 12 -- an unseasonably warm day for early June.
Fruition's farm-to-table sensibilities have given this restaurant a hot, hot reputation around the country -- but what they found there was ridiculous. See an in-the-kitchen slide show of Fruition here.
The tiny restaurant's interior was incredibly warm, without a hint of an operational air-conditioner. When one of the Chicagoans asked if the temperature could be turned down, a waitress brought over a fan. That brought no relief; in fact, 911 was called when a diner at another table put her head down, seemingly overcome by the heat. A fire truck soon pulled up, then an ambulance; after an EMT had attended to that first distressed diner, a person feeling faint at a nearby table asked the EMT if he could help her, and went out to the ambulance.
"It was so hot you couldn't even enjoy the food because you were figuring out how to deal with the oppressive heat," says one of the Denverites at the table. And even worse, management was nowhere to be seen, he notes: "Waitresses were left to deal with it all."
And the overheated diners got no relief on their check -- but at least the kitchen remade the meal of the heatstroke victim when she returned from the ambulance.
Asked about the incident, co-owner Paul Attardi replies, "The air in the dining room was fine and in working order but the kitchen cooling system was not working properly." The kitchen's system is now being fixed, he says, "and I have supplemented the dining room with extra coolers as of last Wednesday."
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And it's definitely better than when Sean Kelley's Something Else was in this space. When he and chef/partner Alex Seidel opened Fruition, Attardi notes, "the space only had swamp coolers. We have invested in all new heating and air conditioning systems."
When you're hot, you're hot....