For the past several months, there's been a flurry of activity on the southwest corner of Holly and Cedar, an intersection that sits on the cusp of Crestmoor and Hilltop on a plot that was once an old gas station, now long gone. But Rob Naiman, who grew up in Crestmoor and is the founder of the Robert L. Naiman Company, LLC, a commercial real estate firm, scooped up the lot last year, and later this spring, the center will be home to Denver's fourth Park Burger, a second outpost of Adagio Bakery and the first location of High Point Creamery.
"There isn't much in the way of food offerings in this neighborhood, but the demographics are great, and this is an area where people can walk or bike to with their kids," notes Naiman, adding that he "tries to find tenants that appeal to a broad spectrum of people."
Mike Meirowsky, who owns Adagio, a popular bakery that first opened in Park Hill in 2006, inked a lease on a 1,500-square-foot storefront in the new build-out, and not only is it markedly larger than the original, but the menu will significantly expand, too. "This will be a play kitchen for us to try out some things that we've always wanted to do -- breads, for example -- and the menu over here will be a lot more creative," says Meirowsky, revealing that the breakfast board will include "all the stuff from the bakery side, plus dishes like corned bread French toast with peach compote; banana bread French toast; and duck confit with sunny-side up eggs."
Breakfast is an underserved segment in Hilltop/Crestmoor -- and in Denver, in general, claims Meirowsky. "There aren't enough good-quality breakfasts in Denver, and I think what we're planning to do here will be a really good fit for the neighborhood," he says, noting that the breakfast and lunch menus are the work of chef Corey Navin, a longtime friend of Meirowsky and a former Denver chef (he was he sous at the now-defunct Sparrow), who took an extended sabbatical before Meirowsky lured him back to the burners.
"Corey took a career break, but he's ready to get back into the kitchen and help us do some really great things," says Meirowsky. "He and I work well together, and this is a great opportunity for him to be a part of growing our business, which is what we want to do," adds Meirowsky, whose bakery and 54-seat cafe will be open from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. seven days a week.
Adagio will be joined by Park Burger, a 2,500-square-foot build-out, which makes it the largest of all three tenants. But unlike the other trio of Park Burgers, this one will only pour beer and wine, an adjustment that was made following an unsuccessful attempt to get a full liquor-license approved.
The last of the three tenants, High Point Creamery, is new to Denver, but owner Erika Thomas, who's from Ohio, learned the craft of ice cream making at Penn State, which offers an intensive, seven-day ice cream short course, often referred to as "ice cream university." And Thomas, a former actress (she was the very first victim on Law & Order: Criminal Intent and also appeared in Shrek 2), along with her husband Chad Stutz, are opening, she hopes, a place that "makes the best ice cream on earth." To that end, Thomas, who moved to Denver last year, will use all fresh, all-natural ingredients in her ice creams (think basil ice cream with a blackberry swirl) and sorbets.
"We're doing high-end, artisanal ice creams -- and every bite is a little bite of awesome," says Thomas, who chose to open her first store in Denver because she thought the Mile High City was pretty awesome, too...especially compared to Ohio. "Chad and I wanted to be in a hub city where we could raise our kids, and that's Denver, which is great for families, has amazing restaurants, great skiing and a collaborative spirit -- plus, we have no idea what to do with all this sun," she jokes. "Suffice it to say that we got to Denver, drank the kool-aid and loved it."
Once Thomas opens -- she's aiming for the end of April -- she'll have eighteen flavors that will rotate in and out, all of which will be categorized under the headings of "normal" interesting" and "non-dairy," the last of which includes her sorbets and an ice cream made with coconut milk and lemongrass.
In addition, Thomas plans to feature ice cream bombes, a retro French dessert that's multi-layered with ice cream, has a meringue custard center and is then frozen in a spherical copper mold. "They're really, really, really good," insists Thomas, who will also offer flights of ice cream festooned with toppings like candied violets. "Chad and I have spent a lot of time on making great flavor combinations, and we've also spent a lot of time crafting what our toppings will be, and I think that's what separates us from everyone else," says Thomas, noting that High Point Creamery will also offer pour-over coffee service. And Thomas promises that the modern decor -- a combination of white marble tables, bleached oak and a handcrafted chalkboard menu -- will be a "perfect place to bring a date."
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High Point Creamery will be open daily from noon to 10 p.m.