opens at 5 p.m. today in the former location of Twelve, which Jeff Osaka closed in August to concentrate on his new venture, Osaka Ramen. Owner Scott Bauer and executive chef Tyson Holzheimer hope to lure customers with a butcher counter and a menu centered on whole-animal butchery, especially beef from Colorado's Best Beef in Fort Lupton.
Bauer and Holzheimer didn't have to do much to the outside of the Ballpark neighborhood building to announce their new restaurant: The vintage marquee from Kokopelli that Twelve had kept just needed new lettering. The classic wood bar inside didn't need much help, either, other than swapping out some bottles to offer a Colorado-based cocktail menu and adding some tap handles to feature a variety of local craft beers.
The two are both veterans of the neighborhood: Bauer was the original chef at Snooze across the street and Holzheimer was the corporate chef for the entire Snooze chain. "We really wanted to to stay in the neighborhood," says Bauer, who is a member of the Ballpark Neighborhood Association, one of the beneficiaries of soft-opening events this past weekend.
Holzheimer's focus in the kitchen will be on preparing alternative cuts from the sides of beef they bring in (his supplier sells them whole but delivers half at a time) while offering popular cuts -- filets, ribeyes, T-bone -- at the butcher counter for customers to take home. In addition, he'll be making bacon, ham, six different kinds of sausage and chicken liver pate, some of which will also be sold to-go. "We'll do seasonal accoutrements for two weeks to a month," he explains, "served with different available cuts." For example, a dry-aged Western-cut steak served with goat cheese-cream sherry glaze and mushrooms will become the same sauce and mushrooms over the next cut of the animal.
"As we break down the animal," Bauer explains, "the menu will reflect the progression." Pork terrine and and oxtail tartlettes are further evidence of the kitchen's dedication to whole-animal cooking.
The menu will be broken into one-bite amuse dishes (like that tartlette), a few plates for sharing, steakhouse-style entrees and family-style sides -- think standard roasted vegetables, wilted greens and frites, but also a classic cassoulet with duck confit and sausage.
Cocktails swim with Colorado spirits like Golden Moon gin, Fireside bourbon and Montanya rum, while the beer list is 100 percent Colorado, including draft and bottle selections from tiny Three Barrel Brewing in Del Norte. Bauer notes that the four tap handles will pour from six barrels so that they can rotate through a greater variety of beers. "We've got a lot of good beer in Colorado," he notes, "so why branch out of that?"
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Starting tomorrow, Butcher's Bistro will also be open for lunch from 11 a.m. Keep reading for more photos of Butcher's Bistro.