In January, we noticed a hand-painted sign reading "Lucia" at 1550 17th Street in downtown Denver, and learned that the space would soon become a new eatery from Urban Food Group, a team that currently operates five restaurants in North Carolina, including the original Lucia in Durham. It looks like the space will have a new identity, though: BusinessDen reports that it will be called Avelina — and that it will feature a menu from well-known Denver chef John Broening.
Broening was most recently in the kitchen at Argyll Whisky Beer, but had already earned a solid reputation for his work at Le Grand Bistro, Duo and Olivea. His experience cooking Mediterranean cuisine will be a good fit at Avelina, which will feature fare from Italy, Spain and Greece. Broening also owned and operated Spuntino with his wife, Jazmin Lozada-Hissom, until they sold the Italian eatery to their former employees, Cindhura Reddy and Elliot Strathmann, in 2014.
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Urban Food Group is owned by Kevin and Stacey Jennings, whose other restaurants include two locations of Vivace (an Italian concept), a French brasserie called Coquette. and a burger-and-pizza place called Chow. They expect to open Avelina in July, adding 5,000 square feet and 120 seats to the downtown dining scene.