Tim Chladek has his mom's good taste in sushi to thank for the opening of his new restaurant, Etc. Eatery, at 1472 South Pearl Street.
Chladek, who has operated clubs and restaurants in Denver and Aspen, says that he was picking up food from Sushi Den for Mother's Day (at his mom's request), and he parked his car on Pearl Street right next to the vacant building that had previously held Palizo Italiano (which closed last November). While waiting for his order, he noticed all the patio space on the building and realized it was perfect for socially distanced dining, so he put a call into the real estate agent and was under contract the next day. "If it wasn't for my mom, I never would have even known the place was available," he explains.
On July 15, Chladek and his business partner, Paul Piciocchi, quickly put together a restaurant plan and began repainting and redecorating the restaurant. "The menu will be classic casual food from around the world," Chladek says. "It's comfort food, but not necessarily American comfort food."
So there will be a burger, a French dip and a pork belly banh mi, along with plates like karaage (Japanese fried chicken), shawarma and Mexican street corn. The menu, from executive chef Jeffrey Weston, who has also worked at Ash'Kara, looks built for sampling and sharing, though there are a few traditional entrees, such as steak frites, shrimp and grits and an ahi poke bowl.
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While the owners expect the majority of guests to sit on one of four patio areas, the interior has been designed with comfort and nostalgia in mind, too. Denim from repurposed jeans has been used as upholstery, skateboard decks cover the walls and old Wheaties boxes form a collage in the restrooms. "It's like the history of sports on cereal boxes," Chladek points out. "I bought them all on eBay; they actually shut down my credit card for a day because of suspicious activity."
The new owners are playing it by ear with reservations, takeout and delivery to begin with. "There's not really a road map for opening a restaurant during a pandemic," Chladek states. The doors open to the public on Wednesday, August 26, with a limited menu, and Etc. will ease into additional options like delivery service and brunch as customer demand builds.
Kladech's other experience has been mostly in clubs, including Tryst Lounge and LaMark 15 downtown, but he was also part of 7908 Supper Club in Aspen, where he says he gained valuable experience and appreciation for restaurant hospitality and front-of-house management.
Etc. Eatery will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day but Tuesday, although hours could be adjusted depending on COVID restrictions and neighborhood demand. Track the restaurant's progress on Instagram, and make reservations on OpenTable.