Cafe Society

First look: El Chingon opens on Tennyson Street (finally!)

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There are six menus total: breakfast, brunch, lunch, happy hour, dinner and late-night, and while the breakfast and lunch boards mirror the same menu that the former El Chingon hustled, just about everything else is new, including the ceviches, served as a trio in v-shaped glasses; carne asada paired with a roasted red pepper and cactus salad; and a bone-in pork chop that's grilled and sauced with chili verde and festooned with a warm salad of jicama, arugula and roasted corn. "We had such a great following at the old location that we didn't want to completely skew what we were doing there, so breakfast and lunch are the same, and there are recipes that span sixty years that I haven't touched, but we added a lot of new things for our dinner menu, and we're concentrating on using local and organic products," he says, citing Tender Belly, Denver Bacon Company, Aspen Ridge Farms, Red Bird Farms and Little Man Ice Cream as examples of his commitment to keep it local.

Lopez also hired a local, Jamie Secrest, a former pastry chef at TAG, to oversee the dessert program at El Chingon. "I left TAG to start my own dessert business, met David at an event, where he tried my pineapple upside down cake, and he offered me a full-time job," says Secrest, who describes the vibe at El Chingon as "fucking awesome," an apt description.

And for Lopez, El Chingon also signifies community. "Our family grew up in this neighborhood, and the sign above our door, 'mi casa, su casa,' is what we want this restaurant to be. Our home is your home," says Lopez.

Here's a peek at the space, the food and the cocktails.

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Lori Midson
Contact: Lori Midson