What: Three Saints Revival
Where: 1801 Wewatta Street
When: Open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday
For more info: Visit threesaintsrevival.com
What we saw: Color. A lot of it. Which is a bold change from the dark decor of this space's previous occupant, Hearth & Dram. The boldest element in that concept's design were some splashes of plaid. In contrast, Three Saints Revival looks like something from a Technicolor dream (or the pages of a 1990s Deli*s catalogue — which is a big compliment, as anyone who was obsessed with those knows). Dreams are, in fact, part of the inspiration behind this new restaurant attached to the Indigo Hotel in the North Union Station neighborhood. "It's morphed into what we call this absinthe Bohemian dream sequence," says restaurateur Robert Thompson, explaining the idea behind the design approach. "There are some sort of hallucinogenic qualities to what we tried to create here."
Three Saints is the first restaurant Thompson is opening under his Angiven development company, which he established after leaving Punch Bowl Social, the "eatertainment" brand he founded and helped grow nationally before resigning in August 2020. But he'd been on the scene long before Punch Bowl, opening spots like Brasserie Rouge (in the Ice House, when there wasn't even a North Union Station neighborhood behind it) and Argyll over the past two-plus decades.
This new spot, though, represents a revival — both for the city and Thompson himself. "I wanted to create something that felt like a rebirth," he says. "One of our goals was to create an environment that doesn't really exist in Denver from a design perspective, so we wanted to do something outside of the box."
That focus led him to the world of dreams, where key elements like being naked, flying, home and teeth falling out are common. Take a close look at the custom wallpaper outside of the bathrooms and you'll find many of those represented, including a molar with wings.
While the design approach is all about the surreal, the food and drink menus are firmly rooted in the Mediterranean, from Spain and Italy to Israel and Turkey. Patrick Williams is overseeing the beverage program and has created an opening list of eight cocktails ($10-$12). "It's really endless, the amount of ingredients you can play with, with all the countries represented," Williams notes. The bright-red-hued Monarch of the Sea, for example, includes allspice dram, cardamom syrup and pomegranate tea, while the Spice Trade is a muddled cucumber libation with Aleppo pepper. The wine list traverses the Mediterranean as well, and a map on the menu guides guests through each label's origins.
Longtime Denver chef John Broening, who previously worked with Thompson at Argyll, is the culinary director; his wife, six-time James Beard nominee Yasmin Lozada-Hissom, is on board as consulting pastry chef.
The chef has personal ties to the region. "My dad was a journalist. We were in the Soviet Union, and my dad worked for the Associated Press. ... He had hardship pay, so we could travel first-class anywhere in Europe we wanted to," Broening explains. "So we'd always go to Greece for vacations. .... It has a special place in my memories because you'd go to a store in the Soviet Union and there'd be cabbages and a few potatoes. And then we'd go to Greece, and there was sunlight and there was clear waters and there was abundant fish." Broening also spent time in France, Spain and Portugal, "so especially in my taste memory, the Mediterranean is a very special place to me," he notes.
Along with a selection of cheese, charcuterie and a few salads, the dinner menu includes just four large-format entrees, leaving the focus on a long list of tapas. Shrimp with Spanish chorizo ($17) comes bathed in a broth flavored with sherry, garlic and lemon, and is served with pieces of bread for soaking up every last bit of the flavorful liquid. Potato croquettas ($9) are crunchy on the outside, but as you dig in your fork for a bite, the creamy, saffron-yellow interior made with béchamel spills out, mingling with the pepper, tomato and Calabrian chile sauce below. There's a classic patatas bravas ($9), as well as eggplant cooked in embers and topped with tahini ($9) that eats like a chunky baba ganoush, scooped up with housemade crackers topped with a za'atar spice blend.
One standout dish is also the most simple: a classic Sicilian combination of orange, olive and red onion ($9). Broening adds fennel pollen, blood-orange essence and sage oil, and the result is a bite that is salty, tart and sweet all at once.
"We try to be purposeful in everything here," Thompson says. The result: a restaurant that smartly capitalizes on the strengths of a talented team and is poised to become the new go-to escape near Union Station after it officially opens on November 20.