"I'm ready to roll," says Dylan Moore, clad in a black T-shirt and jeans in the kitchen that feeds diners at Deluxe, and now, Juanita's, the Mexican restaurant he'll open tonight at 4:30 in the space that formerly held Delite.
He's eying a bowl of poblano chiles, which he'll stuff with goat cheese, corn and black bean puree, just one of the dishes on his short board of Mexican foodstuffs determinedly bereft of green chile and tacos, save for one: fish. "No green chile and just one taco," says Moore, whose dishes zigzag from his legendary masa-fried oysters paired with salsa fresca, smoked jalapeno aioli and cilantro to an arugula salad pelted with pumpkin seeds and dots of cotija. "We're doing fresh mod Mexican and some really kick-ass drinks to go along with it," he adds.
The space, which was getting its finishing touches this morning before tonight's unveiling, is kitschy and urban, with a large community table, vintage posters and retro signs that dot the weathered brick walls accented with washes of orange. And the Juanita's sign, which Moore inherited after the original Denver Juanita's closed on 17th Avenue several years ago, hangs prominently on the exterior. "It's going to be cool, and I'm excited to have some fun with Mexican food. It's my obsession," confesses Moore.
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Here's a first look at the quarters.