On August 30, he debuted a brand-new concept, Tiny Giant Sushi, at Milepost Zero, the food hall at McGregor Square next to Coors Field. And now his biggest project ever is set to open on Thursday, September 23.
Grange Hall, located at 6575 Greenwood Plaza Boulevard in Greenwood Village, will be the latest addition to the Arapahoe Entertainment District, which got its first major destination business in late June, with the opening of Pindustry, a massive games, bowling, food and cocktail concept. "There's a lot going on [in Greenwood Village] right now," Guard says, "and then Fiddler's Green is a block away. ... I'm excited. A couple more weeks and we'll be ready to roll."
The project has hit a few bumps along the way. "We got postponed for a bit with the city on health permits and hoods and all kinds of stuff," Guard says, noting that Greenwood Village is also short-staffed right now, putting a strain on the typical opening approval processes. A shortage of building materials also delayed the project. "Glass has been a really big issue," he adds. "We're going to open without garage doors, and we're just putting windows in for now."
But despite the challenges, Guard is excited about Grange Hall's future. "I've been looking at food halls for the past three or four years," he notes. "It's such a great canvas, because you can go in and open up for not much money, and if a concept does well, you can build your brand."
That goes for the concepts Guard is bringing in from other owners, as well as his own. Along with a Bubu stall, the restaurateur is introducing two completely new food options at Grange Hall, in addition to his first foray into craft beer with Little Dry Creek Brewery, which he plans to launch with ten brews on tap.
One addition has a completely new focus for Guard: pizza. Crazy Love Pizza will make square (but not deep-dish) Sicilian-style pies on sourdough crust, baked in special pans and cut into fours. "You can get a single slice or order the whole pie," Guard explains. Along with typical toppings, there will be some "crazy" options including lobster, fried chicken, hot honey, pickles and dill aioli, along with taco and hamburger-inspired pies. Salads and small plates such as prosciutto and salami slices to order and veggie-forward dishes like roasted eggplant and heirloom tomatoes will round out the offerings.
Toppings are also a focus at Rado Burgers — a name inspired by the often-used, short-a pronunciation of "Colo-rad-o," according to Guard. "TAG Burger Bar is awesome," he says of his burger brand that's opened in several Denver locations since debuting in 2012 (it's currently at 1222 Madison Street). "But I just wanted to tweak it just a little bit and more at this place. Use a different type of beef, a different type of bun, and do all these crazy toppings." The Rado burgers are made with local grass-fed Angus beef and will be available as a single or double. You can opt to go simple and classic, and there will also be over twenty topping options to choose from, including indulgent selections like foie gras, duck egg, fried pickles and Funyuns.
Three brands from other local companies are also set to debut at Grange Hall. Eiskaffee — from Erika Thomas and Chad Stutz, the owners of High Point Creamery — is a German-inspired coffee and ice cream concept. Uptown & Humboldt, from chef Gio Diaz and his partner, Hayden Hayes, has been a food truck on the scene since January 2020 and will bring Mediterranean fare with plenty of veggie-focused options to the food hall.
The latest addition to be announced is Honey Fish from Jianxiong Li, the owner of Highland restaurant Mizu Izakaya. It will specialize in temaki hand rolls and sushi.
The buzziest addition comes from out of state: The fried chicken chain Crack Shack was originally founded in San Diego in 2015 and has developed a loyal following. It now has four locations between California and Las Vegas. Along with the Denver outpost at Grange Hall, the brand is planning a sixth location in Utah.
Rounding out the offerings is something that Guard says he hasn't seen at any other food hall: a pop-up stall. "Anybody could rent this stall and try out whatever they wanted to try out," he explains, whether for a day, a week, a month. Specific plans for the pop-up stall are still in progress. "We want to open the space first, see how it goes and then throw someone else in there," Guard notes.
Guests at the food hall will be able to order online from QR codes at the tables or at the stalls themselves. Drinks, which will include the Little Dry Creek beers as well as a full lineup of cocktails, will be delivered to tables while customers will pick up food at each concept. To-go meals will also be a focus. "We'd like to push [to-go] as much as we can," Guard explains, "just because of how the whole world has changed. And I think the environment in the Denver Tech Center, with a lot of families and work offices, I think we'll do a large to-go business out here."
Opening the first food hall in Denver's southern suburbs is an interesting move for a restaurateur whose locations are largely concentrated closer to downtown, but Guard is optimistic about what Grange Hall is set to add to the area. "I feel like we're in the middle of downtown, Cherry Creek, Castle Rock and even Colorado Springs," he continues. "People are coming up here to check things out, so I kind of like being in the middle. I'm pretty excited about the opportunity here."
During its debut weekend, September 23 through September 26, Grange Hall will be open from 4 to 9 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
After that, its regular hours will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit grangehall-colorado.com.