After two years behind the burners of Bistro One, the French-American food temple at 1294 South Broadway, Olav Peterson is striking out on his own, retiring his whites from that kitchen to make way for his own place, a garden-to-table restaurant somewhere in central Denver.
Peterson won't divulge where, exactly, the new address is, and he's not revealing the name, either (keep checking the Cafe Society blog, though, because we'll be the first to release both), but he will say this much: His goal is to open the joint later this year.
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"I really, really enjoyed working at Bistro One, and the owner, Alex Waters, gave me a ton of creative freedom, which also gave me the confidence to go out and do my own thing," says Peterson, who did stints at 1515 Restaurant and Euro, a now-defunct restaurant in Cherry Creek, before opening Bistro One in 2008. "Working with Alex taught me a ton about the front of the house, about hiring people and actually running a restaurant, and it's a bittersweet goodbye -- bitter because I'm leaving, and sweet, because I'm opening up my own place."
His new restaurant, which will focus on "artisanal style cuisine" is a family venture, one that will include his wife, Melissa, who's also decorating the space. "It's very, very important that I get to be with my wife, and I couldn't be more excited to go to work with her every day," says Peterson, who also plans to build a patio for his dog.
And a restaurant-cum-garden-cum-farm for the rest of us. Peterson is taking a very large plot of property and turning it into a literal farm in the city, one that he can harvest from for at least six months out of the year, with the help of hoop houses. The restaurant, which will seat 60 inside, and another 40 butts on two outdoor patios, both hugged by produce, herbs and flowers, will eventually become a space for garden dinners, too. "We're building a huge frickin' garden right in the middle of the city, something that Denver hasn't really seen, and I couldn't be more excited about it," says Peterson. "This is something I've wanted to do for a long, long time, and that dream of having a real garden-to-table farm/restaurant in the middle of a city is finally becoming a reality."