The name Kevin Taylor has been synonymous with fine dining in Denver since the 1990s, and the chef has been ahead of the trends for most of the intervening decades. The evidence? Even in 2006, a Westword story about the August menu at Restaurant Kevin Taylor (which ran from 2000 to 2014 inside the Hotel Teatro) noeted that it included Colorado peaches, corn, heirloom tomatoes and squash blossoms, all at the height of the season, something rare then and now touted in nearly every wood-fired kitchen, small-plates joint and food hall in town.
While the pace of KT-branded eateries has slowed in recent years from its peak in the 2000s, the chef has maintained a presence with Kevin Taylor's at the Opera House and Limelight Supper Club & Lounge at the Denver Performing Arts Complex and last year's debut of Hickory & Ash in Broomfield. All told, Taylor has opened some twenty different restaurants in the city, dating back to Zenith American Grill and Brasserie Z. And tonight he unveils Mila, a by-the-book Mediterranean restaurant at 999 18th Street, in a refurbished space that was most recently Urban Roadhouse Downtown.
At the helm is longtime Kevin Taylor collaborator Austin Cueto, who is overseeing a seafood-heavy menu that also includes Neapolitan-style pizza, handmade pasta and desserts that go above and beyond standard Denver restaurant expectations.
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Cueto was last seen as the executive chef at Palettes, which closed last September at the Denver Art Museum to make way for a massive rebuilding project. Before that, he was also exec at Restaurant Kevin Taylor.
Expect a surprisingly sunny space, which could have proven gloomy, tucked away as it is beneath the twin skyscrapers of the Denver Place complex. Blond wood, wicker, tan leather and turquoise form the color and texture scheme, with gleaming tile, nautical touches and a central light fixture that resembles an inverted artichoke. In addition to a roomy bar and dining room, there's a 700-square-foot wine cellar that can be booked for special occasions and a 100-seat patio looking out onto 19th Street and beyond, in the direction of Five Points.
Taylor's latest effort is part of a refurbishing project at Denver Place, where Aspen chef Michael Beary will also open his Oaxacan-spiced Zocalito, and one additional restaurant space awaits a taker.
Mila will be open every night but Sunday for dinner starting tonight, with weekday happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. (5 to 6 p.m. on Saturday). Lunch service will be added beginning September 10. Call the restaurant at 303-228-0770 for more details.