On the heels of the Crowne Plaza Denver’s $22 million renovation comes the hotel's new restaurant geared toward the millennial working crowd downtown. With all the nuts and bolts of a locavore-style eatery, the Lockwood Kitchen & Bar hosts a grand opening today under the helm of Colombian-born chef Alberto Avila – with plenty of Colorado farm-to-fork proteins in tow.
The white-hued, minimalist, lounge-inspired restaurant offers a variety of seating, including a high-top communal table, casual bar stools and a dining room reserved for breakfast, lunch and brunch service. However, a unique draw is the Lockwood’s layout, with nooks and meeting rooms surrounding the space, where hotel guests and diners alike are invited to work and order from the restaurant's menu through use of the hotel tablet system; there are several placed throughout the perimeter to encourage a new working-lunch experience.
Then there's the rock-climbing-themed Capital Board Room, just steps from the restaurant, which offers rentals starting at approximately $200 per hour, along with audio-visual equipment, seating for twelve and dining service straight from Avila’s kitchen. “Non-hotel guests in Denver can come out and rent the space by the hour, do one-on-one meetings and take advantage of catering options like a charcuterie board for twelve, which is customizable for any group,” says Heather Douglas, director of sales and marketing. “Once you put your order in, it will buzz the waitstaff, and they will bring the order via the in-house tablet system.”
The concept for both the Lockwood (which, don’t worry, still accommodates the average Denver Joe), is "new modern," and according to the hotel, the renovation was designed to appeal to the "working millennial," who is active, tech-savvy and mindful. The restaurant's expected diner also values health, which is why staying local to its core is a primary mission.
To start, serving boards and platters made from Colorado beetle-kill wood offer a thoughtful presentation and a unique look. “I like people to see the quality,” Avila says about both his presentation and his choice of ingredients.
A nod to a city favorite, the ahi tuna mini-tacos are parcels of sashimi-grade tuna wrapped in soft, warm flour tortillas, dressed with wasabi slaw and sriracha aioli. “People love tacos here,” Avila admits. As entrees go, there’s a fourteen-ounce bone-in ribeye and molasses-simmered short ribs to consider, and the local lamb chops are anything but typical. Rosemary and red wine merge into an earthy reduction enveloping the chops, which rest atop a heap of whipped Yukon potatoes with a hint of truffle. For a little surf to add to the turf, opt for the cast-iron-seared sea scallops, kissed with a citrusy butter. As sweet endings go (before heading back to work), the Chocolate Crunch Bar is a light, crunchy, sinful indulgence that may just require a pairing with some celebratory prosecco.
For those seeking to imbibe on their lunch hours (or later), the cocktails are unlikely to disappoint. Take, for instance, the Colorado Old Fashioned, with 291 Colorado Whiskey from Michael Myers's Distillery 291 out of Colorado Springs. “Our cocktails are whiskey-forward and friendly,” says Todd Sharp, food and beverage director. “They’re a twist on classic cocktails.” The Irish 75 is another house creation, with a Jameson Caskmate whiskey kick, a hint of citrus and an effervescent finish from a topper of champagne. With eight cocktails to round out the roster, Sharp’s shaker isn’t losing momentum any time soon.
We’re also outing one of the newest and best secrets the
Lockwood has to offer: a $15 full lunch buffet, stocked with a rotation of fajitas, tacos and burgers from Avila, who will also oversee the hotel’s daily breakfast buffet offerings as well as weekend brunch. In true Denver fashion, it wouldn’t be brunch without Bloodys and mimosas, so prepare to wet your whistle at the à la carte brunch bar, and have at it until you need to buzz the hotel tablet to call you a Lyft home.
The Lockwood Kitchen & Bar joins a growing number of new hotel restaurants downtown, including Citizen Rail in the Kimpton Hotel Born, Urban Farmer in the Oxford, Hearth & Dram in the Indigo, and Kachina Southwestern Grill in the Maven. It is now open daily from 6 a.m. until midnight, with breakfast, lunch and dinner service, and will soon announce brunch, happy hour and tasting events following today’s grand opening.