Chef Eric Roeder had restaurants in two of Denver's hottest restaurant neighborhoods before they were hot. A Boulder native who started his culinary career at the Flagstaff House as a pastry apprentice, Roeder graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in New York in 1995, then cooked in Seattle and Manhattan before moving back to Boulder to become chef de cuisine at Q's. Then, in December 2000, he opened his own spot: Micole, at 1475 South Pearl Street. After two years there, he moved on to open Bistro Vendôme in Larimer Square. And last year, he returned to Boulder, to one of the coolest spots in an already hot dining neighborhood: the Dushanbe Teahouse. See also:Jason Sheehan on how Larimer Square become a hot dining destination
That's an authentic teahouse gifted to Boulder by its sister city in Tibet; the kitchen there is now run by Three Leaf Concepts, which also oversees the kitchens at the Chautauqua Dining Hall and Naropa Cafe, as well as in its own restaurants: Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant and Aji Latin American Restaurant in Boulder, and Zucca Italian Restaurant and the Huckleberry in Lafayette. Three Leaf also runs the Boulder Tea Company and Three Leaf Farm.
But after a year at the teahouse, last week Roeder moved on again. "He brought some nice influence to our menu here at the Teahouse with his creativity, whimsy and foundation in the classical," reports Three Leaf chef/co-owner Lenny Martinelli. "We look forward to expanding on that direction with our executive chef from Zucca Italian restaurant, Will Kelley. Research into food is really important to the menu structure at the Teahouse, and Will is looking forward to this challenge. He has done a great job for us out in Louisville, and we expect great things to follow."
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And we expect that wherever Roeder lands next, it will one day be a hot restaurant neighborhood. After all, the former home of Micole went on to be the first location for Lola, then BB's Bistro and India's Pearl; one day, it will be transformed into Tavern Platt Park. And Bistro Vendome, an early test of a model that Larimer Square's owners have now perfected -- a restaurant partnership with a name, local chef -- is now in the hands of Jennifer Jasinski and Beth Gruitch, who also run Rioja and Euclid Hall on this hot restaurant block.