Food News

Beckon Will Unveil Its Seventeen-Seat Chef's Counter on November 21

Beckon on the left, Call on the right.
Beckon on the left, Call on the right. Mark Antonation
The twin cottages that comprise Beckon|Call at 2843 Larimer Street have been attracting attention since the first half, Call, opened at the tail end of 2017. Located in the white-painted, right-hand cottage, Call serves breakfast and lunch with an array of house-baked breads, tartines (you can call them fancy toasts) and deceptively simple sandwiches, all with an aesthetic that leans toward New Nordic. Despite its diminutive size and casual approach, the tiny cafe managed to land on Bon App├ętit's list of the ten best new restaurants in America in August.

Meanwhile, the black-painted Beckon has been sitting empty, peering over the fence at its bustling sibling and hoping to get in on the RiNo action. While the buildout continued, executive chef Duncan Holmes and his team were busy planning menus and testing recipes, and now they're ready to invite diners to the seventeen-seat chef's counter inside. Beckon will serve its first eight-course tasting menu, dubbed "Cold Moon," on Wednesday, November 21.

Since everything else at the two eateries seems to stray from convention, even booking seats requires something a little different from simply picking up the phone or hitting Open Table. Reservations, which started on November 5, can be made on Tock, an online system created by Alinea co-founder Nick Kokonas specifically for restaurants like his Michelin-starred Chicago dining room that offer an alternative experience. When you book seats at Beckon through Tock, you're not just making a reservation; you're buying a ticket to dinner. So you pay your $95 up front (plus an additional $65 if you want wine or beer and cider pairings), and you're then free of typical restaurant encumbrances such as choosing from lists of appetizers, entrees and desserts.

click to enlarge Chef Duncan Holmes will head the chef's counter at Beckon beginning Wednesday, November 21. - COURTESY CALL
Chef Duncan Holmes will head the chef's counter at Beckon beginning Wednesday, November 21.
Courtesy Call
Beckon's tickets times are grouped in two sets of seatings staggered at fifteen-minute intervals, between 5:30 and 6 p.m., and again between 8 and 8:30 p.m., which ensures that the dining experience will be intimate. To help tailor it to your needs, Tock maintains a list of FAQs specific to each restaurant (What should I wear? Can I take pictures of my food?), and the staff at Beckon will work with you if you have food allergies or dietary restrictions.

Since you're buying a ticket and not just making a reservation, no-showing is not recommended. If you can't make it to your selected time, Tock allows ticket transfers but not refunds.

Whether ultra-casual, come-as-you-are Denver is ready for this kind of dining remains to be seen, since it really hasn't been done here before other than at pop-ups and one-night dinners. (While Frasca Food and Wine also uses Tock, it only charges a $25-per-person deposit in advance.) Larimer Street, with its many bars, eateries, breweries and food halls, might prove particularly challenging, since restaurant-hopping along this strip is more the style, and popping in for small plates and drinks before moving on has led to different expectations of service.

Beckon will test the waters every Wednesday through Saturday beginning November 21 (with the exception of Thanksgiving, when it will be closed). While most of your advance interaction with the restaurant will be through Tock, Beckon has a website where you can sign up for "insider information." You can also visit Call's website for its daytime menus and other details.
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Mark Antonation is the former Westword Food & Drink Editor. In 2018, he was named Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he's now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
Contact: Mark Antonation