In just a week and a half, the Denver outpost of The Kitchen will make its debut on 16th Street, extending the community-based restaurant empire Kimbal Musk and Hugo Matheson began in Boulder eight years ago to the Mile High City. And while Musk has promised that the Denver space won't stray far from the flagship -- it will still incorporate urban design and a commitment to local, sustainable sourcing -- the new restaurant does have some twists in store.
"The big difference between Boulder and Denver is that Denver will have a lively, bistro bar scene," says Sara Brito, who does public relations for the restaurants. "The Denver location has a really large bar that seats about twenty people itself plus high-top tables that are almost like community tables. The patio area outside the bar entrance will also feature bar seating."
That bar area -- and bar entrance -- will be visible from the 16th Street Mall, which Matheson and Musk hopes will give the restaurant a sort of casual, community vibe instead of an air of fine dining that's often associated with the Kitchen in Boulder. "When you walk by the 16th Street bar entrance, you'll see people sitting or standing at high-tops, which creates a more casual, communal feeling," Brito explains. "You're more likely to wander in between tables."
And because the bar is so large, the Denver location will roll out a bar-specific menu. "We'll have a community hour menu from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. every day, and the bar menu will be a smaller subset of that menu," says Brito. "For instance, it will feature a burger."
Also visible from the 16th Street Mall will be a raw seafood bar, because Matheson has "a really close relationship" with Ingrid Bengis-Palei, owner of Ingrid Bengis Seafood, explains Sylvia Tawse, who also does public relations for the group. "This is an opportunity to give Denver a raw bar that opens at 11 a.m. and stays fresh until close." The bar will also offer 100 percent sustainable seafood, including oysters, shrimp, lobster, Alaskan king crab legs and caviar.
Brito adds that other purveyors will also be featured, and the daily offerings from the rotating list of fish will be noted on a chalkboard also visible from the street.
Finally, the wine program at the Kitchen Denver will differ from that at the original Kitchen. Instead, it will be the wine keg program from [Next Door], Tawse explains, and "100 percent of the wine-by-the-glass program in Denver will be from kegs."
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Brito notes that the keg wines in Denver will build on what [Next Door] started. "We're partnering with winemakers, wineries and vineyards in order to really grow the keg wine program," she explains. "Our wine director, Tim Wanner, is really working to help grow keg wines for Colorado. Wineries are still working out the kinks and the distribution challenges. Tim is pioneering keg wine for the Kitchen and the Colorado market." To that end, the lineup at the Kitchen will feature the "Kitchen red" and "Kitchen white," wines that Wanner helped make with California wine producer Kenny Likitprakong; eventually, keg wines from Austria and Italy will be introduced, too.
The Kitchen Denver will unveil all of these developments and more when it opens its doors to the public for lunch, community hour and dinner on March 20.