First Look: Fork & Spoon opens in the former Taki's space on East Colfax

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After Taki's, a twenty-year veteran on East Colfax, closed in November of last year, sisters Nancy Brady and Helen Patterson, both of whom own CityGrille next door, fulfilled one of the objectives on their bucket list: They opened a breakfast spot with good coffee. "We've always had a dream of opening a great coffee shop," says Brady, who, along with her sister, opened Fork & Spoon, an enamoring java joint and breakfast-lunch emporium, late last week.

See also: Fork & Spoon takes over Taki's space on East Colfax

The concept, says Brady, is "scratch-made home cooking," and she hired Mitchell O'Shea, a lifelong kitchen veteran, to develop the menu and oversee the line. O'Shea, the former p.m. sous-chef at Punch Bowl Social, and, prior to that, executive sous-chef of the grand Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, wasn't looking to leave Punch Bowl, but an offer to spearhead his own restaurant, he tells me, was too good to ignore.

"The opportunity came up for me to do my own thing, and I wanted to put my own name on my dishes and do them my way, and the fact that I don't have to work from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. -- that's a good thing," says O'Shea, who actually worked with Patterson for several years at the Biltmore and soon became good friends with both her and Brady. "We all just get along really, really well and we have a lot of fun" -- and that stretches to the kitchen crew, too, adds O'Shea. "My kitchen staff is having a great time, and while they're green, they're passionate, and it's a collaborative kitchen, so everyone feels really involved," he notes.

And that kitchen is turning out a menu inked with memorable -- and gut-busting -- breakfast and lunch dishes. Breakfast trumpets a plate-spanning burrito tucked with housemade chorizo, scrambled eggs, roasted potatoes and fresh spinach draped in a salsa verde striped with hollandaise sauce; housemade corned beef hash with kale and goat cheese; biscuits and sausage gravy; and fresh fruit- and cream cheese-stuffed french toast haloed with caramel, candied pecans and whipped cream. His lunch board, a swell of sandwiches and salads, includes a turkey, sweet potato and mixed greens waffle sandwich smeared with cranberry aioli, or, as O'Shea likes to call it: "Thanksgiving year-round." And, fittingly, the majority of the dishes are named after streets in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

And O'Shea, who has a background in vegan and vegetarian cooking, says that as he continues to evolve the menu, he'll punctuate it with more and more meatless dishes. "Within the next few months, I'll be making my own seitan and vegetarian sausage from scratch," says O'Shea, whose kitchen is also bereft of a fryer. "I'm not big into grease," he admits.

Brady, for her part, is making the restaurant's jams and jellies -- which are also for sale -- and while Fork & Spoon serves pastries, they're currently being sourced from a local bakery, although Brady hopes that in the future, all of the baked goods will be done in house, too. "The plan is to definitely make our own pastries to go with the housemade jellies and jams," says Brady.

Coffee -- good coffee, stresses Brady -- was of major consideration, too, when she and her sister opened Fork & Spoon, and Brady sources her beans from EspressoSmith Coffee Company, a small-batch roaster in Commerce City. And if you order a latte or cappuccino, the foam is inked with a fork and a spoon, drawn in chocolate. In addition to caffeine jolts, the restaurant, which has an eight-seat bar, pours wine, beer and spirits -- and on Sunday, bottomless mimosas are $9.

And it's a lovely space in which to linger. Warmly lit with sunshine that streams through the windows, adorned with vases of fresh flowers and whimsical salt and pepper shakers, and comfortable with plump sofas and soft banquettes, it's a welcoming Colfax respite that makes you want to hang around for a while -- and to encourage that, there's complimentary WiFi and a shelf full of board games.

Fork & Spoon is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Here's a photo gallery of the space and the food.

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