Boulder just got lucky — really lucky. Not only did the Cheesecake Factory recently pull up stakes on the Pearl Street Mall, but something cool is actually taking its place. Instead of just another corporate chain, Avanti Food & Beverage, the food hall/incubator that opened at 3200 Pecos Street in Denver in 2015, is planning a second location in the two-story space at 1401 Pearl Street.
Avanti F&B co-founder Patrick O'Neill says he and his partners have been scouting downtown Boulder for some time, and the vacancy struck them as desirable because "the space supports our core incubator model, and the views spanning from the Flatirons to Sanitas on our rooftop deck are spectacular."
While the Denver original boasts seven food counters built from shipping containers, the Boulder version, expected to open toward the end of 2019, will have six, along with two bars, a rooftop patio and a breakfast station serving coffee and pastries. Vendors for the six slots have yet to be selected, so interested chefs can contact the company at firstname.lastname@example.org. The new Avanti will also follow the incubator model, allowing budding restaurateurs to sign short-term leases (of one to two years) as a way to test a concept before investing in a brick-and-mortar restaurant.
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O'Neill thinks Boulder is more than ready for the Avanti experience, especially because of the high price of real estate. "The barriers of entry to brick-and-mortar restaurants in Boulder is even more difficult than in Denver," he explains, "So we are elated to provide an opportunity to marginalize said barriers. We’re expecting to get a good mix of tenants who are interested in the space, as well as guests who are up for exploring a new range of culinary options."
Other differences between the two locations are the focus on beer and the local pool of culinary professionals. While the original Avanti prominently features Dogfish Head Beers from Delaware (because of Avanti co-founder Rob Hahn's friendship with Dogfish Head owner Sam Calagione), O'Neill says no decision has been made on beers for the new location. "We also plan to work mostly with chefs and restaurateurs in the Boulder area to showcase the talent within the community," O'Neill adds.
The new Avanti will take up approximately 13,000 square feet and will be designed by Oz Architecture and Scout Interiors. The food hall will be open for lunch and dinner daily as well as weekend brunch.
The Cheesecake Factory shut down last fall after nearly twenty years in business, marking a continuing exodus of chain restaurants from the Pearl Street Mall.