Most Denverites think steak when they hear the name Del Frisco's — expensive steak. But the new Del Frisco's Grille, which opens tonight in Cherry Creek, only has three cuts of prime beef on the dinner menu: a filet, a New York strip and a ribeye. The rest of the menu is devoted to casual and modern fare that general manager Gavin Berry says modern diners are looking for, whether they're just rolling off the golf course or coming in after a business meeting or afternoon of shopping.
While the interior of the eatery, three years in the making, is definitely well appointed (to the tune of between $7 million and $8 million in total construction costs), the menu takes a more laid-back and cheeky approach. Shareable plates are labeled "Food to Fight Over," and the daily lunch deal, with a main and a side, is called "Grab a Pair." In typical chain fashion, the kitchen, headed by executive chef Dan Kane, offers a little something for everyone, from Asian street tacos to an assortment of housemade flatbreads to beef short rib stroganoff. But unlike at many chains, everything in the kitchen is made from scratch, and daily specials are offered for both lunch and dinner.
Del Frisco's opens at 4 p.m. this afternoon, but thereafter will kick things off every day at 11 a.m. for lunch, with brunch beginning at the same time on Sundays. And in a nod to Denver's bar culture, happy hour will take place weekdays from 4 to 6:30 p.m. — not typical for other Grille locations, according to Berry — with a menu of $6 snacks and drinks.
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Restaurant features include two floor-to-ceiling wine walls with more than 300 labels; a private dining room that can be booked for larger parties; an intimate eight-seat nook clad in wood paneling and dubbed the Mile High Room; and a rooftop patio that's still under construction but that should be ready for customers by the end of November.
Berry, Kane and several other members of the management staff all did time at Sullivan's Steak House downtown before the Del Frisco's group closed that location in May, so there's a certain amount of continuity and familiarity that carries over to the new spot. Berry said the opening was timed to coincided with a rebirth of the Cherry Creek North shopping district, which is on the verge of seeing several new condo and apartment complexes and hotels open, all sporting new retail space at street level.
The crew has hosted a number of friends-and-family lunches and dinners over the past few days, so we stopped in to check out the food and the vibe during a full lunch service. Keep reading for more photos.