Last fall, chef/restaurateur Jennifer Jasinski announced that she and business partner Beth Gruitch would be adding a Spanish-style tapas bar called Ultreia to their roster of downtown restaurants, joining Stoic & Genuine at Union Station. As the plans shape up, a few changes to their other eateries — under the Craft Concepts umbrella — have been inevitable, especially in the back of the house.
Adam Branz, who has been with Jasinski's team for six years and most recently headed the kitchen at Bistro Vendôme, will be the lead chef when Ultreia opens, a job that comes with an ownership stake in the restaurant. Taking his place at Vendôme is Brendon Flood, who joined the team several months ago and has been training under Branz to take the reins. Flood is a Massachusetts native and graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst who came to Colorado in 2011 with the hope of getting into the craft-brewing business. He did just that — but as a cook and chef, first at Vine Street Pub and then at Lowdown Brewery + Kitchen, where he was responsible for building and opening the kitchen when the brewpub opened in 2014.
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Also new to Jasinski's team is chef Jon Sanchez, who was hired to lead Euclid Hall after the departure of Jake Grant. Sanchez, who graduated from Arizona's Scottsdale Culinary Institute and has worked his way up the ladder in Las Vegas and Boston, has been training under Jorel Pierce, a longtime Craft Concepts leader who helped open both Euclid Hall and Stoic & Genuine.
While construction has yet to begin at Ultreia, Jasinski and Branz are in the early stages of menu development and recently put out an all-Ultreia holiday-party spread for the employees of Bar Dough, Highland Tap & Burger and Sloan's Lake Tap & Burger. (Jasinski's husband, Max MacKissock, is the executive chef at Bar Dough.)
Jasinski explains that there's an added layer of difficulty with the construction plans at Ultreia because the work must also be approved by the National Park Service, which oversees the historic Union Station building. "We're just excited to make Union Station even more cool than it is now," she adds.