The Kitchen restaurant group, under the guidance of owners Kimbal Musk and Hugo Matheson, riffs on a theme like an accomplished jazz musician. The flagship Kitchen restaurant in Boulder and its siblings in Denver, Fort Collins, Chicago and Memphis share the goals of local sourcing, community involvement and conscientious plating, even if the menus vary from location to location. The group's casual spinoff, Next Door American Eatery, takes the theme and gives it a neighborhood vibe. And the new Hedge Row, at 100 Steele Street in Cherry Creek, adds a wood-burning oven, an emphasis on seasonal changes and a menu somewhere between the Kitchen and Next Door in terms of price and opulence.
The newest member of the family will open on Monday, July 10, with a spacious dining room, designed by Semple Brown and Matheson, that somehow registers as homey: Maybe it's the country-blue chairs, dishware and accents or the prevalence of blond woods, but the raw concrete pillars supporting the condos above seem to melt into the background, except for a few obstructed-view seats. The smell of burning wood might have something to do with it, too, adding farmhouse warmth inside the glass-and-steel framework.
Hedge Row, like its stablemates, will be the first of many of its kind, with a second already in the works in Indianapolis. A floor manager during a recent soft opening cited Hedge Row's differences (when compared with the Kitchen) as the frequency of menu changes (four or five a year) to match the seasons, the more casual ambience, and the preponderance of vegetable dishes.
In fact, the lunch and dinner opening rosters both offer six vegetable (though not necessarily vegetarian) dishes that are more than sides but less than full entrees, ranging from whole roasted artichoke to charred Chinese broccoli to something called "smashed cucumbers" (whether because they've been pummeled forcefully or drowned in booze is not clear from the menu).
Other sharable plates and mains borrow from both regional American (dirty rice fritters and Green Goddess grilled chicken) and international (shwarma-spiced steak and mole-braised short ribs) cuisine, with a variety of proteins to choose from. An extensive but well-organized and friendly wine list is bolstered by craft cocktails (including a couple of "zero proof" blends) and beers that steer more toward accessible than esoteric.
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Hedge Row takes its name from the Boulder County Farm, now called Cure Organic Farm, from which the Kitchen's founders first purchased produce in 2004. The group says that Hedge Row's entire menu, designed by culinary director Meg Grace Larcom and executed by head chef Paul Warthen, is sourced from American farmers and will rely on local producers in the cities where new outposts are opened. The Cherry Creek restaurant will be open daily for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday and Monday, until 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and until 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. See our complete Hedge Row slideshow for more food and restaurant photos.