The Preservery Debuts Friday Night in RiNo's Backyard on Blake

Outside the Preservery on Blake Street.EXPAND
Outside the Preservery on Blake Street.
Danielle Lirette

A new all-day market, deli, restaurant and music venue is coming to the RiNo neighborhood this week. The Preservery will have its grand opening this Friday, April 1, in the Backyard on Blake development, at 3040 Blake Street. The Preservery is the culmination of more than two years of planning from owners Whitney Ariss, culinary director for the restaurant, and Obe Ariss, business director and music coordinator.

The Preservery packs a bar, dining room, small music stage, deli counter and gourmet market into a lofty, airy space with a big kitchen in the back for turning out baked goods, grab-and-go items and plated dinners from chef de cuisine Brendan Russell, most recently of Frasca Food & Wine.

For the grand opening, the restaurant will be open from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday evening, and then full service will start on Tuesday, April 5, with breakfast beginning at 9 a.m. and lunch at 11 a.m. (The place will be closed on Sundays and Mondays.)

The dining room at the Preservery.EXPAND
The dining room at the Preservery.
Danielle Lirette

Whitney Ariss explains that the couple's plans began to come together in the summer of 2014, when they took a business-plan-writing class through the Metro Denver Small Business Development Center. Once they had their plan together, they scouted locations for another nine months before finding the Backyard on Blake. "Our goals were just so in line with Fiona Arnold, the property owner," she recalls. 

Those goals include becoming a community-oriented business (with a "food, music, community" tagline) with more to offer than just food. Ariss says the Backyard is planning neighborhood events like a mini farmers' market and vendor fairs. And Arnold offered rooftop space to the Preservery for an herb and vegetable garden. 

"We are also dedicated to taking care of our staff," Ariss explains. That means that instead of a standard restaurant tipping model, the Preservery will build the amount customers would normally pay in tips into the menu pricing. Guests will order at the counter, but service will extend into the dining room, with cooks and other kitchen staff delivering food and interacting with diners. This model will allow the Arisses to offer higher wages, full benefits and mobility within the company. For example, even starting positions like dishwashers are cross-trained in food prep so that they can easily move up if they show desire and skill.

The Preservery's music stage.EXPAND
The Preservery's music stage.
Danielle Lirette

With Obe's background in nonprofit development, the Arisses consider charitable giving and working with community organizations part of their business model. "That means more than just donating money," Whitney explains. "We consider ourselves a social enterprise." The couple plans to build partnerships with specific organizations and use in-house events — like booze-and-food pairing dinners and demonstrations with local farms on how to use their ingredients in different ways — to build relationships and raise awareness.

The kitchen will focus on scratch-made items, with baked goods like eclairs and kouign amann in the morning, sandwiches made on fresh-baked bread for lunch, and farm-centered fare with Mediterranean influences for dinner — think eggplant and zucchini moussaka; halibut in saffron broth with cippolini onions; and braised chuck rib with smoked polenta and Parmesan. 

Bar manager Albert Broker is in charge of house cocktails, wines and a small list of local beers that will change with the seasons. One of the first on tap will be a Belgian-style strong golden ale that was developed in conjunction with CO-Brew, a homebrew shop and beer bar on Broadway. Entertainment will be limited to Fridays and Saturdays at first, but the Arisses hope to eventually fill the stage with acoustic jazz, classical and popular music five nights a week.

Keep reading for more photos of the Preservery.

The windows above the kitchen were salvaged from a 1920s apartment building in Casper, Wyoming.EXPAND
The windows above the kitchen were salvaged from a 1920s apartment building in Casper, Wyoming.
Danielle Lirette
Pantry items to go.EXPAND
Pantry items to go.
Danielle Lirette
Market shelves at the Preservery.EXPAND
Market shelves at the Preservery.
Danielle Lirette
Whitney Ariss says she and Obe are huge Star Wars nerds.
Whitney Ariss says she and Obe are huge Star Wars nerds.
Danielle Lirette
Behind the service counter.EXPAND
Behind the service counter.
Danielle Lirette
A peek into the deli case.EXPAND
A peek into the deli case.
Danielle Lirette
The deli case features local cheeses like Broken Shovel, Avalanche and Haystack Mountain.EXPAND
The deli case features local cheeses like Broken Shovel, Avalanche and Haystack Mountain.
Danielle Lirette
The Preservery's bar.EXPAND
The Preservery's bar.
Danielle Lirette
A few Star Wars items highlight the dining room and market.EXPAND
A few Star Wars items highlight the dining room and market.
Danielle Lirette
Chef Brendan Russell.EXPAND
Chef Brendan Russell.
Danielle Lirette
A view of the interior space at the Preservery.EXPAND
A view of the interior space at the Preservery.
Danielle Lirette
A portrait of Obe's father sits on a piano from Whitney's family.EXPAND
A portrait of Obe's father sits on a piano from Whitney's family.
Danielle Lirette
Housemade bread.EXPAND
Housemade bread.
Danielle Lirette
Cookies being made in the open kitchen.EXPAND
Cookies being made in the open kitchen.
Danielle Lirette
Beers include a limited-release Belgian strong ale from CO-Brew.EXPAND
Beers include a limited-release Belgian strong ale from CO-Brew.
Danielle Lirette
An array of cocktails from bar manager Albert Broker.EXPAND
An array of cocktails from bar manager Albert Broker.
Danielle Lirette
The Preservery's patio looks out onto the courtyard of the Backyard on Blake.EXPAND
The Preservery's patio looks out onto the courtyard of the Backyard on Blake.
Danielle Lirette
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The Preservery

3040 Blake St.
Denver, Colorado 80205

303-298-6821

www.thepreservery.com


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