I recently caught up with Dan Landes, owner of WaterCourse Foods, City, O' City and WaterCourse Bakery, to talk about his new joint, WaterCourse Cafe at the Aveda Academy, set to open November 17 at 17th and Market.
He told me that the deal for the new cafe — which will be open to the public, in addition to the seventy stylists and 200-plus customers the Aveda Academy hosts every day but Sunday — was brokered over a bridge game between his mom and the mother of Tiffany Krauklis, who, along with her husband, Kevin, operates the Academy. "They were the real power brokers here," Landes told me, explaining how Tiffany's mom had said something about her daughter having trouble opening the planned cafe in the expanded Academy space and then his mom saying, "Well, you know, my son..."
The cafe will operate along the same lines that Landes and his gang have more or less standardized throughout their operations: high-end coffee from handcrafted Italian espresso machines, local premium teas, smoothies full of fruit and the weird chemicals vegetarians require to sustain lives without barbecue and cheeseburgers, killer pastries from the WaterCourse Bakery (all vegetarian, mostly vegan and, without exception, miracles of food science), panini sandwiches, salads (lots of salads...) and wraps.
"We're bringing an amazing cup of coffee downtown," Landes said. Otherwise, he adds, "There's no master plan here. Nothing beyond being prepared to take advantage of new opportunities as they come. There's no intent to take over the world."
That said, Landes and his restaurants are enjoying increased notoriety these days. Landes recently filmed an episode of the Food Network show Dinner: Impossible in which he got to help patsy-du-jour Michael Symon cook an all-vegetarian meal for 150 cowboys in Colorado Springs. And then last week, WaterCourse (837 East 17th Avenue) played host to the Beastie Boys, the guys from Metallica (who I would've thought traveled everywhere with a couple of roasted goats in the back of the bus) and one of the pitchers from the World Series-winning Phillies — all in the course of just a few days.
Not bad for a tofu pusher.
Leftovers: It looks like the Bugling Bull, formerly at 1668 North Highway 67 in Sedalia, has gone to that big Hogtown in the sky. The Bull — which obsessed me for nigh on two years, first as an illegal quick stop for unlicensed barbecue genius and then as a legal food-service operation built by luck, sweat, friends and good fortune — served the best creepy backwoods barbecue in the state. It was the kind of place where sometimes you'd see lines snaking out into the parking lot and sometimes no lines at all; the kind of place where a man of narrow obsessions could spend an entire afternoon talking ribs and smokers with pit man Mike Frislie and even get a very personal lesson in pig butchery: put up against the wall in frisk position while he traced the cut of a country rib on your back with the point of a butcher's knife.
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While looking for more barbecue wisdom last week, I put in a call to the Bugling Bull and found the phone disconnected. So Mike, if you're out there, let me know where you'll be setting up those smokers next, huh?
Meanwhile, Ruben Mackintosh seems to be back in business — a few years after he lost Tosh's Hacienda, the restaurant at 3090 Downing Street that had been in his family for close to fifty years. (As reported in Cafe Society last month, the space became Kiva Restaurant, and recently turned into Blackberries Bar & Grill and Club Dynasty.) Mackintosh has filed for a liquor license for Tosh's Cantina at 8101 East Belleview Avenue in Marina Square.
Davies Chuck Wagon Diner opened a third location this past weekend, at 12100 West 44th Avenue in Wheat Ridge. Lime opens its third outpost, at the Landmark project in Greenwood Village, on November 13. And the Fainting Goat just opened on November 12 in the former home of Moon Time, at 846 Broadway. "It's a nice little Irish pub," promises Mark Holland, who also owns Hopper's Sports Grill in Wheat Ridge.
I'll drink to that.