Cafe Society

Paul Reilly walks away from Cherokee on 12th Avenue -- but not Beast + Bottle

Back in September, we spilled the very good news that Paul Reilly, the former chef of Encore, which closed early this spring, would open a new dining mecca called called Beast + Bottle, a restaurant, he told me, that would be nose-to-tail and "much more about the food and food practices that inspire me." And he, along with Aileen, his sister and partner, found a space to open it, namely the former Cherokee on 12th Avenue, which shuttered in October after 28 years in the Golden Triangle.

See also: - Paul Reilly opening Beast + Bottle in the Cherokee on 12th Avenue space - Beast + Bottle's Paul Reilly one of only eight chefs in the world to win the Jean-Louis Palladin Work Study Grant - After 28 years, Cherokee Dining on 12th Avenue will close on October 14

Reilly was moving forward on the project -- and moving forward with his menu, much of which will be designed around fish. In fact, he recently spent several days in Maine, fishing, thanks to a Jean-Louis Palladin Professional Work/Study Grant he received, and it was when he returned from Maine, just before Thanksgiving, that he made the decision to pull the plug on the Cherokee space. "The good news is that my trip to Maine exceeded my expectations, and I think we're going to offer guests some really unique seafood choices that no one else in Denver has right now, but the bad news is that I pulled out of the Cherokee lease because of insurmountable construction costs," says Reilly.

The space, he adds, "needs a lot of work, and considering everything we wanted to do to renovate it to where it needed to be, we just couldn't justify how much it was going to cost." He cites, for example, the need to enlarge the water line to support things like sinks and toilets, which, notes Reilly, would have been "really expensive."

But while he bid farewell to that plot, Beast + Bottle will absolutely open, promises Reilly. "The concept will be exactly the same, and we've spent the past three weeks looking for another place to make this happen, and we're confident that we're going to find a great space really soon." In fact, divulges Reilly, "We've been meeting with the landlord of another space, and things are looking good, for sure."