Construction Watch

Eight Upcoming Restaurants to Watch for in Early 2017

The fast pace of Denver restaurant openings looks like it will continue at least through the beginning of 2107. Here are eight that will hit in January and February — including moves by old favorites, new offerings from established Denver chefs,  and newcomers to the Colorado culinary scene — in alphabetical order, along with their estimated openings.

American Grind (inside Avanti Food & Beverage)
3200 Pecos Street

As a restaurant incubator, Avanti F & B has seen a few of its startups come and go. The latest to leave is Mijo, which served udon noodle bowls and Japanese-inspired cuisine. American Grind, from the owners of the Way Back in West Highland, will move in to take its place, serving burgers and other Midwestern fare, like a pork tenderloin sandwich, as well as housemade ice cream. In fact, American Grind (which has seen a previous life as a food truck) will make everything from the buns to the ketchup from scratch, and also source beef and other ingredients from local, sustainable producers. Look for the burger bar on the first floor of Avanti toward the end of January.

Broken Rice
1390 South Colorado Boulevard

Fast-casual Vietnamese restaurants could be the next hot trend. Diners are already familiar with pho and rice bowls made popular by the many noodle shops around town, so the modernization of service and decor seem a logical step. Broken Rice will serve pho, stir-fried noodles, banh mi sandwiches and, yes, bowls made with the namesake broken rice. Offerings will include classics from China, Thailand and other Asian countries, as well as a full bar. Broken Rice will open for lunch and dinner at the end of January.
Devil's Food Bakery
1004 South Gaylord Street

This isn't so much a new eatery as it is a new space for an old favorite. For years, Devil's Food Bakery & Cookery has been a breakfast, brunch and dinner stop as well as a neighborhood coffeehouse and bakery based in a tiny space at 1020 South Gaylord Street. Now the business is dividing into two separate spaces; the new address will house the bakery and coffeehouse and will have its own dedicated kitchen so it can ramp up production of pastries, breads and other baked goods. The expansion should be complete this month.

Hearth & Dram
1801 Wewatta Street

The new warren of steel-and-glass edifices on equally new streets behind Union Station will be home to Hearth & Dram, a  new project from Hospitality Ventures Management Group, which expects to open the restaurant in late January as part of the Indigo Hotel. Hearth & Dram will be headed by executive Jeffrey Wall, who comes to Colorado from Atlanta's Kimball House. Wall is putting together a menu of rustic American food centered on a wood-fired grill. "It's really a masterpiece," Wall says of the striking new build. "Anything a chef can dream of is going to be in the kitchen."

Although Wall is coming from the South, don't expect Southern cooking. "I didn't want to come to Denver and say 'I'm a chef from Atlanta,'" he explains. "I'm here to cook food for Denver."

Instead of Southern, expect rustic. "What does rustic mean?" Wall continues. "Simple and unadorned, but not poorly executed...with more locality, more soul, more connections." His menu will highlight local ingredients when it makes sense, but he also says he's learned from his mentors (like chefs Joël Antunes and Ryan Smith) that you can't cut corners if you want to make great food, so the best products will come from wherever they are grown or made.

Hearth & Dram will also have a large whiskey collection, and bar service will include a tableside cart for reserve cocktails. The restaurant will seat 110, with patios facing Union Station.

Keep reading for more new restaurants opening in Denver.

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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