At last night's one-year milestone bash at Row 14, chef Jensen Cummings managed to throw one of the best stoner food parties we've ever seen: carne asada fries, rabbit nachos, hellaciously hot frog legs slicked with sauce killing us softly with ghost chiles, and tempurara-battered meatball sliders. Oh, and he threw some alligator in there for good measure.
"We don't have quite the menu that Jensen had -- his menu is crazy-awesome -- but we have killer wieners," says Jim Pittenger, who's also marking the one-year anniversary of Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs, the brick-and-mortar he opened this time last year.
And on Sunday, he and his crew are hosting a hot dog hoedown to celebrate.
"It's been a phenomenal first year, and we're way better now than we were a year ago," admits Pittenger. "We took a huge leap of faith when we went from being in the hot dog cart business to the restaurant business, and I had a lot of sleepless nights wondering if this thing was going to work, but every day I wake up and can't wait to go to work."
It has, in fact, been a remarkable year for Pittenger, who not only unleashed a restaurant, but also got his first food truck -- a food truck that will likely multiply in other cities, thanks to a deal he struck with Mobi Munch, a California-based company that builds food trucks and then rolls them out in populated areas across the country, including sports stadiums and college campuses.
And for the past several months, the Biker Jim truck has been journeying across the country hustling frankfurters to huge crowds. The original meal-mobile, however, didn't have much of a kitchen, so the crew at Mobi Munch got their hands on an old Qdoba truck, which will soon become the official Biker Jim food truck. "We should get it by next Thursday," says Jim, adding that once it's delivered -- it's headed here from Nebraska -- he'll get it wrapped and start showing it off, first on Blake Street during home baseball games at Coors Field.
But first, there's that party. "We'll have a couple of kegs from Great Divide that you can drink if you know the password," teases Pittenger, "But since we don't know what the password is, it's pretty certain that people will get the password right."
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And, yeah, he'll be throwing down plenty of "surprise" sausages, too, but since Pittenger flies by the bun of his wieners, he isn't sure what those "surprises" entail. "I don't fucking know...we're having a meeting today to figure it all out, but I can tell you for sure that we're doing things that we've never done before, so that could mean anything."
Molecular magician Ian Kleinman will be there, too, says Pittenger, doing what he does best: liquid nitrogen ice cream, desserts and cocktails. And that's not all: "We're going to get boozy with moonshine," Pittenger tells me. "We're probably one of the only restaurants in Denver that's carrying Old Smoky moonshine, and since it's 100-proof, it creeps right up on you."
Nothing that a bun and a sausage can't soak up. The party gets started at 11 a.m. and continues until 10 p.m. or everyone passes out -- whichever comes first.