Chain reaction: The dailies keep bringing us updates on just which celebrity-driven national chain restaurants--now being referred to as "eatertainment," the kind of catchphrase that gives journalists goosebumps--will be doing their business in Denver soon. With each new announcement--Country Star, the Cheesecake Factory--my tastebuds shrivel up a little more.
As the executive editor of Food & Wine magazine, Denise Brown, put it during her first mile-high visit a few months ago: "I guess I got here too late. I'd heard Denver was different from other big cities."
Local heroes: Hey, how about some information concerning restaurants and restaurateurs truly unique to Denver that give the city much of its flavor?
The Wynkoop Brewing Company held one helluva wake for its founding brewmaster, Russell Schehrer, last week; the 38-year-old Schehrer died as a result of injuries sustained in a fall in New York City (where he'd been consulting with Typhoon, a new brewpub). At the memorial, brewer after brewer got up and toasted Schehrer, making it clear that without his inspiration, Denver--and the rest of the country, for that matter--would be a much duller, less beer-filled place. There wasn't a dry eye in the room--literally.
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Now, to keep Schehrer's name and memory--and his dedication to better beer--alive, his friends and family members have established the Russell Schehrer Fund with the Institute of Brewing Studies. It will be used to create an annual award in Russell's name that will cover registration costs of on-site brewing schools at upcoming conferences, as well as lodging and airfare. Donations should be sent to: Russell Schehrer Fund, Institute of Brewing Studies, P.O. Box 1679, Boulder, CO 80306-1679.
Bourbon Street Pizzabar & Grill is back in business following a five-month hiatus after a fire gutted some of the shopping center in which it was located. Now, though, it's seven doors farther down, at 5117 South Yosemite Street in Greenwood Village. During the break, owners Laura and Michael Brody took their employees to New Orleans for a month, and, not surprisingly, the entire staff elected to return when they reopened. If you're a fan of Bourbon Street's innovative pizzas, be sure to pick up one of the restaurant's T-shirts, which says, "If you had a piece last night, you'd be smiling today."
Also worthy of a chuckle is the name of the new venture from Kevin Taylor (Zenith, Dandelion) and Mark Johnson (Jimmy's Grille in Glendale). The Bent Noodle will open mid-June at 3055 South Parker Road, in what had been Cafe Della's; the casual Italian joint will feature many take-out items and a patio, as well as sit-inside service. Already serving is Jane's on Madison, at 120 Madison, in the old home of Philippe's--but you'd never recognize the place. The "Jane" is Jane Myers, formerly of Coos Bay; she and her brother, Chris Myers (Croc's, Lodo's Bar and Grill), have lightened up the place, refurbished it with hardwood floors and updated colors, and put in a menu of continental dishes with a Pacific-Northwest feel. Jane's has been open only a week, but the paella is already getting raves.