First thing's first: Despite the enviable success of Freshcraft, one of Denver's best watering holes to study the attributes of craft beer, brothers Aaron, Lucas and Jason Forgy, all of whom own Freshcraft, aren't looking to reinvent the wheel when they open Block & Larder on Tennyson Street later this fall. In fact, according to Jason, Block & Larder won't be anything like Freshcraft.
"We're still working on the details of the concept, but I can you that this will be a chef-driven, food-focused restaurant -- not a bar -- and a very different concept from Freshcraft, from top to bottom," stresses Jason, who took over 3,000 square feet in the former Yankee Trader building on Tennyson Street, a structure that will house two tenants, the second of which has yet to be disclosed.
The focus, says Jason, "will be on proteins with an emphasis on in-house butchery." Think beef, lamb, boar, fish, pork and other cuts. And while Jason notes that the space will include a "very nice bar," he and his brothers are still contemplating the beverage program. "We're still fine tuning a lot of things, but the goal is to continue to own and operate good restaurants, and because this concept is so different from Freshcraft, we may hire a beverage director, in which case, we'd want to allow that person to build the bar program," explains Jason.
The space, which will accommodate around 100 seats, is owned by Gravitas Development Group, the same company that pioneered the construction of the mixed-use shipping-container project at Broadway and Larimer, and the trio of brothers are hoping to start construction in mid-June. "This area is one of the most up-and-coming neighborhoods in Denver right now, and it was a great opportunity, so we decided to jump on it, and while we're still in the pre-construction and licensing phase of opening the restaurant, we're hopeful that we can start construction next month and open in mid-fall if everything goes according to plan," Jason says, acknowledging, of course, that "everything is dictated by permits and inspections."
The brick structure, which was originally constructed in the 1930s, is a full build-out, and part of the plan to is to restore the exterior, which will include sliding glass panels that fully expose the streetscape. "The building has to be brought up to code," notes Jason, "but when we've finished the construction, the whole front of the restaurant will open to the sidewalk, which will be really cool."
The name, Block & Larder, he notes, is twofold. "Larder was a food storage area in medieval households, similar to a pantry, but different because there was no meat and fish storage, which we'll have, and the block reference is to a butcher's block, and we'll be doing a lot of butchery," he says.
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When Block & Larder opens, it'll serve lunch and dinner.