On November 20, Mercantile Dining & Provision closed its Union Station dining room, just like every other restaurant in Colorado counties designated Level Red by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. But chef/owner Alex Seidel didn't switch to serving food to-go or in heated domes on the restaurant's patio. Instead, there was just a note on Mercantile's website stating that the kitchen was closed until further notice.
And that day has come: Mercantile is opening for takeout today with new team members who will help Seidel guide his six-year-old restaurant through the winter and into an eventual full reopening. Mercantile's previous executive chef and partner, Matt Vawter, left earlier this year to open his own restaurant, Rootstalk, which debuted in Breckenridge on December 10. Vawter had been with Seidel for more than a dozen years, starting at Fruition, Seidel's first eatery.
So there were big shoes to fill in the kitchen, and Seidel wanted to make sure to get it right, since he had won a James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest in 2018 on the strength of his restaurant's reputation as one of Denver's premier destinations. He's tapped chef Alex Astranti from Dallas, Texas, to take over the reins. "We have some work history together through events and also through him hosting me at his restaurant in Dallas," Seidel explains.
Astranti is a native of Pietra de' Giorgi, a village between Milano and Genoa, Italy, and has a long résumé with stints at top restaurants in London and the U.S. Most recently, he's been with Hai Hospitality, the group that runs Uchi and several other restaurants, as head of culinary operations for Uchi and Uchiba in Dallas. In a statement provided by Seidel, Astranti says he brings "new perspectives, new ideas," but wants to "leave Mercantile Mercantile."
Also new to the team is Jim Bube, who will be the general manager and beverage director. Bube passed his Master Sommelier examination in 2017 from the Court of Master Sommelier and comes to Denver after working harvest season at Argyle Winery in Oregon's Willamette Valley. Seidel says Bube is only the second Master Sommelier currently working in a Denver restaurant.
Seidel, Astranti and Bube are launching takeout dinner and beverage service tonight beginning at 4 p.m., with service continuing Tuesday through Sunday from 4 to 8 p.m. The menu is small right now, comprising pasta dishes, fried chicken, a burger and several sides and desserts, along with take-and-bake meals and provisions (pickles, jams and other jarred goods). Cocktails, wines, beers and other beverages are also available from Mercantile's online store. Call 720-460-3733 for details and pick up orders at the restaurant at 1701 Wynkoop Street.
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