For many years, chef Leah Eveleigh has been running her own catering business and offering cooking classes, all part of her goal to spread the word about her native Filipino cuisine. But she has also been rising through the ranks at restaurants around town after earning a culinary degree from the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in 2015. And now she's been tapped as executive chef at the soon-to-open Laszlo Hotel in Parker, where she'll oversee three new restaurant concepts.
Eveleigh was the first Denver chef to compete on — and win! — the Food Network's Cutthroat Kitchen back in 2014, and she says she loves being first, so the 51-room boutique hotel is a great opportunity. "To be here from the beginning, and to work with this team, it's fantastic," she notes, adding that she was selected for her flair for banquets and catering, her creative approach and her insistence on cooking with fresh, seasonal ingredients.
The Laszlo is slated to open in late fall at 18595 Mainstreet in Parker. The first floor will house Rick's Prime Steak & Seafood, a steakhouse with a Casablanca theme. The chef says Prime cuts from Aspen Ridge Natural Beef will be the star, along with fresh seafood, some of which will be available only in limited quantities as daily specials. On the second floor of the hotel, the Upper Deck will serve gourmet burgers and spirits and will have a 2,500-square-foot deck with fire pits, outdoor TVs and lounge seating. And above that, Martini's on the Half Shell will bring a modern, forty-seat speakeasy to Parker.
The Laszlo is part of the Mars Hospitality group, which runs hotels throughout Colorado, though this is a new style of lodging for the company. In addition to the three restaurant projects, there will also be a locally owned coffee shop and flower shop in the lobby. And like some of downtown Denver's best boutique hotels, the Laszlo will host nightly champagne toasts for guests.
Eveleigh is putting her cooking classes on hold while she focuses on opening the hotel restaurants, but says she plans to continue "giving back to the community" in other ways once she's settled in, whether through fundraisers or time donated (such as auctioned cooking classes) to causes she supports. And who knows? You might even find a hint of Filipino cooking sneaking into dishes at the hotel.