On December 31, Andrea Frizzi plans to hold one last blowout New Year's Eve party at his 17th Avenue location of Il Posto, and then he'll shutter the nearly ten-year-old neighborhood restaurant in anticipation of a move to new digs at 26th and Larimer streets in RiNo. But when the lights go out on the Italian restaurant that night, they won't be dark for long: Frizzi is handing the space over to chef/restaurateur Radek Cerny, who has long owned Boulder's French fine-dining spot L'Atelier. After a quick remodel, Cerny will reopen the cozy space as L'Atelier by Radex.
Cerny has had a storied career in Colorado: He was behind such legendary restaurants as Radex in Denver and Boulder and Papillon Cafe in Cherry Creek. He opened L'Atelier on Pearl Street in Boulder in 2003, and a few months later, then-Westword critic Jason Sheehan wrote:
Cerny is a stylist, a chef with a signature so distinct that if you've ever eaten at one of his places, you will recognize his influence immediately at any of the others. Whipped, butter-rich Yukon Gold mashers piped out of the pastry bag; potato-starch tuilles (almost like pappadam) used as edible garnishes and pedestals; the heavy reliance on infused oils and Jackson Pollock squeeze-bottle art for decorating plates; cuisine that ignores international borders by borrowing liberally from the French, the Italian, the Spanish, American, Indian and Asian pantheon; and a total override of tradition with the blending of haute, classic and nouveau techniques: These are his trademarks.
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The underpinning of his food, though, is French, and that's what he'll execute in his new space, attempting to fill a void in the Denver dining scene left open by recent closures of French restaurants like Z Cuisine, Le Central and Indulge. Cerny says his new restaurant will be in the vein of L'Atelier, but higher-end. "It will be super fine dining," he says. "We'll have a similar menu, but we're going to step it up a little bit. We want to still cater to people around us, so we want to step up quality and keep the prices down."
As for the original L'Atelier in Boulder, Cerny says he's sold it, in part because of recent underage drinking stings by the Boulder police. "I've been in business since 1988, and I've never had a problem," he says. But after an employee was caught serving to minors, "I don’t want to be held responsible."
Cerny says L'Atelier by Radex will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, and he's anticipating a March 1 opening.