The woman sitting in the booth behind us was beside herself: "We kept telling city council that we needed a barbecue place out here. We've been to every single barbecue place in Denver and this is by far the best," she declared, waving her arms dismissively when I interjected something about liking Jabo's Bar-Be-Q. "No, no, no, this is way better," she insisted, revealing that this was her and her husband's third trip to Big Hoss Bar-B-Que...in a week.
The second outpost of Big Hoss -- the original location is on Tennyson Street in Berkeley Park -- opened just over a week ago at 6955 South York Street in the Streets at SouthGlenn, taking the place of the Oven, which shuttered in May of last year, and according to general manager Nate Mascitelli, the neighborhood has embraced it with open arms. "So far it's been going really, really well, and we're much busier than we expected," he says, adding that they're not just aiming to please barbecue fans but also aficionados of liquid culture. "Yes, were a barbecue restaurant and barbecue is at the core of the menu, but we're also shooting for a bar crowd."
And considering the decor -- neon beer signs, sports memorabilia, several big-screen TVs and a life-size replica of Jasper Newton "Jack" Daniel, the American distiller and founder of Jack Daniel's Tennessee whiskey distillery -- it's an ideal pit stop for guzzling, especially on Thursday, when PBR's are a buck all day long.
The joint definitely mimics a bar more than a restaurant, and the space is considerably different from the Tennyson digs, which may have something to do with the fact that Hoss Orwat, who owns Big Hoss on Tennyson, doesn't own this one. Instead, Dan Ship, who runs Hodsons Bar and Grill, also at the Streets at SouthGlenn (Ship is a partner in more than a dozen other local restaurants, including Reiver's and Spanky's Roadhouse), inked the deal on the space.
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"When the Oven closed," explains Mascitelli, "the leasing company approached Dan about taking it over, and since he wanted to do a barbecue concept, he talked to Hoss, because they're friends, and he gave Dan permission to to use his name and recipes, which are exactly the same as the Big Hoss on Tennyson," he adds, noting, too, that Hoss -- a cowboy -- still has a hand in the restaurant. "The cowboy's been here quite a bit, and he's still involved."
Hoss wasn't around when I stopped by today, but the bar was filling up just as I finished working my way through several dishes on the menu, the photos of which are on the following page.
Jalapeno, cream cheese and bacon burger with hand-cut sweet potato fries. Grilled green beans, mushrooms and onions, one of the eight available side dishes at Big Hoss. Shepard's pie with mashed potatoes, cheese-y corn, brisket, white cheddar and barbecue sauce. Pulled pork sandwich with a side of coleslaw. Baby-back ribs. Jack.