Theo Adley's resume is full of chef stints from some of Colorado's best restaurants. Since coming here for school in early 2000, he's cooked at the Flagstaff House and Frasca. He moved to Aspen to get in on the action at the Little Nell, and from 2008 until early 2010, he ran the show in the kitchen at Radda Trattoria, Matthew Jansen's Italian restaurant in North Boulder.
When that came to an end this spring, though, Adley decided that rather than jump back into someone else's kitchen, he'd open his own place. He spent the next few months helping out at Pizzeria Basta and Prime Meats, a hot Brooklyn spot, before returning to Boulder and signing a lease on the 1710 Pearl Street location left vacant by Bimbamboo in January, where he's opening The Pinyon, an American joint that will be open for lunch and dinner.
The name of the spot pays homage to what Adley calls artisanal mountain man food. "I'm like Jeremiah Johnson with a terrine pan," he says.
That doesn't necessarily mean wild game, though, at least not exclusively.
"I think the mountains get forsaken a little," the chef notes. "There are wildflowers, plants and mushrooms that don't make it into our cuisine. Boulder is located both at the base of the mountains and near arable land. I want to draw from both."
Those seasonal offerings will be bolstered by a staple menu of American classics like fried chicken and apple pie. And, since he's planning to install a couple of brick ovens, he also lists s'mores as a dessert prospect: graham cracker fuilletine wafers with housemade peanut butter cups and marshmallows.
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His local emphasis will extend to his beverage program, which will feature an exclusively domestic wine and beer list, as well as a spirits roster that will be US-centric. (He acknowledges that things like tequila will have to be imported.) And special precedence will be given to beverages made in Colorado.
Right now, Adley is in the process of remodeling his space. He's stripping out the horrendous orange and green color scheme and creating an exhibition kitchen, open bar and open dining room with muted hues, rough-hewn wood wainscoting and an atmosphere that invites diners to stay focused on the food and company.
"I just want to do what I want to do," he says. "No ego."
The Pinyon is slated to open at the beginning of December.