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Beckon Gets Its First New Chef and GM Since Opening in 2018

New Beckon GM Justin Abad (left) and executive chef Codi Simkins are ready for your next dinner out.EXPAND
New Beckon GM Justin Abad (left) and executive chef Codi Simkins are ready for your next dinner out.
Courtesy of Beckon
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Under executive chef Duncan Holmes and director of experience Allison Anderson, Beckon flourished as Denver's first chef's counter-only restaurant when it opened in 2018. Beckon and Call, its sibling restaurant right next door, drew national attention, earning praise as one of the nation's top dining destinations. But Call was undergoing renovations when the pandemic hit Denver last March and has yet to reopen, and Beckon, with fewer than twenty seats indoors, has shifted all of its operations to its heated and covered patio and a handful of greenhouses.

Co-owner Craig Lieberman says that other changes are happening, too. While Holmes and Anderson worked their last days at Beckon last week and are departing to start their own project, new talent is already in place: Codi Simkins has been named executive chef, and Justin Abad takes over as general manager.

Simkins is no stranger to high-end cuisine; she comes to Beckon from her position as chef de cuisine at the Wolf's Tailor and also did stints at Frasca Food and Wine and Fruition; she's been working part-time at Beckon for the past several months to help make the transition smoother. "Based on the food, I don't think our guests will even notice that there's been a change," Lieberman says.

The chef-counter experience is on hold for now in favor of intimate greenhouse and heated patio seating.EXPAND
The chef-counter experience is on hold for now in favor of intimate greenhouse and heated patio seating.
Courtesy of Beckon

Abad joins Beckon after twenty years at some of Washington, D.C.'s top restaurants. "We discovered him during a search for a GM and business operator," Lieberman explains. "We were looking for someone with his kind of experience in fine dining and operations."

The restaurant is still dedicated to multi-course tasting menus that change with the seasons. Over the summer, menus were shortened and the price point was lowered, but since October, the kitchen has returned to presenting the full Beckon experience. "I was nervous about how many people would want a full-on tasting-menu experience, but I've been pleasantly surprised," Lieberman says.

Still, it will be a while before things can go back to pre-pandemic service, since restrictions currently don't allow food or beverage service across bar counters — and that's the only kind of seating inside Beckon. But the restaurant will soon add tables inside Call's currently unused space until Beckon can fully reopen. After that, Call will be rebooted with a new mission. The details are still under wraps, but Lieberman promises that it will be something the neighborhood needs and will appreciate.

Beckon currently opens its reservations at 10 a.m. every Saturday for seatings the following week. Call for details, and see the restaurant's website for available times and dates. Takeout options are also available.

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