Food News

New Parker Eatery Features 14ers and Chef Tyler Wiard

Parmesan risotto rice balls will be on the opening menu at West Main Taproom + Grill
Parmesan risotto rice balls will be on the opening menu at West Main Taproom + Grill Raemirue Photography
The Laszlo Hotel opened for business in December in Parker, and with it came three restaurant and bar concepts all under the guidance of executive chef Leah Eveleigh. But the hotel had one more restaurant space under construction, and now it's nearly ready to open. West Main Taproom + Grill is aiming for an early-February opening at 18595 East Mainstreet in the southeast suburb.

West Main won't be under the same management as the other Laszlo Hotel eateries (Rick's Prime Steak & Seafood, the Upper Deck and Martini's on the Half Shell), however, but is independently owned by Omaha, Nebraska, restaurateur Pamela Briere and her husband, Jeff. While Pamela's GPMM restaurant and catering group is based in Omaha, Jeff is an airline pilot whose job brings him to Denver frequently, so the couple bought a home near Parker and focused on opening a restaurant there.

One of the first orders of business was finding a chef and director of operations. To head the kitchen, the Brieres found chef Tyler Wiard, who had been taking time off after two years at Guard and Grace, and who had previously been the culinary director for Elway's from 2006 to to 2017.

"We're crafting thoughtful and honest food here," Wiard explains. He adds that the menu fits the general description of a gastropub (since West Main will have a strong focus on Colorado beer, spirits and wine), and that there will be options for vegetarian and vegan diners, too. "We'll start out simple in the beginning. But even if you're spending $8 on a salad, we want it to be the best you've ever had."

click to enlarge The West Main team, including (from left) Jeff Briere, Jim Compoz, Pamela Briere, Rosalie Weber (VP of operations for GPMM) and Tyler Wiard. - RAEMIRUE PHOTOGRAPHY
The West Main team, including (from left) Jeff Briere, Jim Compoz, Pamela Briere, Rosalie Weber (VP of operations for GPMM) and Tyler Wiard.
Raemirue Photography
Wiard's focus on quality — whether in the local ingredients used or the attention to detail in the preparation — come as no surprise, given his history at some of Denver's best restaurants over the years, including Mel's Bar & Grill, the Fourth Story and Cliff Young's Napa Cafe. He was also a contestant on season ten of Bravo's Top Chef.

Also on board as director of operations is Jim Compoz, who has been general manager at La Loma and oversaw nine Bonefish Grill restaurants in the West. "We're like long lost brothers because of our shared passion for delivering a great experience," Compoz states.

He also explains that the restaurant's 14er theme will be built around 54 Colorado craft beer taps: one for each Colorado 14,000-foot peak. Customers will be able to download a West Main app to participate in Colorado beer, wine and spirits "day hikes," earning swag by working their way through the complete lineup of each. The bar won't stock exclusively Colorado booze though; Compoz points out that he'll also have an interesting roster of Japanese whisky and the full line of wines from The Prisoner as part of his goal of bringing in the best of California's wines.

This makes the second Parker restaurant with a prominent Denver chef at the helm; chef Duy Pham has overseen the menu at Parker Garage since it opened in 2014. Compoz says that West Main Taphouse + Grill should have its final inspections this week, and from there the team will be able to target a specific opening date. And then Parker neighbors will be able begin their (slightly tipsy) tour of Colorado's highest peaks.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Mark Antonation is the former Westword Food & Drink Editor. In 2018, he was named Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he's now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
Contact: Mark Antonation