But Palazzola calls the Mile High City home now, and he's making his Southern roots known in more than just his manner of speech; after joining the Acorn team at the tail end of 2017, the chef has put a bold mark on the restaurant inside the Source, unveiling an almost complete menu transformation that accompanies the eatery's first significant facelift since opening six years ago.
But the menu changes haven't exactly been seismic in nature — more a slow shift toward Palazzola's influences, which along with Southern accents includes hints of Moroccan cuisine, picked up from his time as chef de cuisine at the Michelin-starred Mourad in San Francisco. The intertwining of the American South with North Africa may not seem like an intuitive match, but Acorn's wood-fired grill and oven help blend the two cuisines so that the differences are notable more in the ingredients listed on the menu than in the finished dishes.
Dayton explains that, with Redzikowski devoting his time to Oak in Boulder, he wanted to ensure that Acorn guests weren't overwhelmed by change. (Yes, the daytime doughnuts are gone, but he says lunch customers can indulge their sweet tooth in a rich new Hong Kong toast built from thick slabs of bread from the Source's Reunion Bread Co.). So while Palazzola has been on board for a year and a half, changes have been slow. Dayton notes that the bar area is being reconfigured to add more high-top seating for guests who want to stop in for drinks and small plates after work, and that more seating is being added in the mezzanine level. A new dry-aging room (where you can see whole ducks and slabs of beef on racks in the display window) has taken over part of the former butcher shop next door, and the remainder will soon become a dessert bar called Melted, which will specialize in soft-serve ice cream, warm cookies and other baked goods.
Most of the restaurant reconfiguration will be completed in the coming weeks, with Melted coming toward the end of 2019. While some of the menu items are currently available, the full roll-out will be official after July 4. Visit Acorn at 3350 Brighton Boulevard; call 720-542-3721 or see the restaurant's website for more details and reservations.