Back in early March, we reported that Restaurant Kevin Taylor and Prima Ristorante, the two in-house restaurants at the Hotel Teatro, were closing to make way for a multimillion-dollar renovation -- a renovation that would include a new restaurant, operated by the hotel. And yesterday, the Hotel Teatro announced the name of that restaurant: The Nickel, the kitchen of which will be quarterbacked by Jake Linzinmeir, a chef, certified sommelier and restaurateur with Colorado roots and a national and international presence.
His most recent stints, sous-chef at Le Calandre, a three-star Michelin restaurant (and rated No. 46 on San Pellegrino's World's 50 Best Restaurants list) and senior vice president of restaurant development company Blau + Associates, are augmented by several years dedicated to restaurants in Telluride, including the Excelsior Café, Blue Point Grill, X Café, Telluride Conference Center, Chair 8 and Hotel Madeline; in addition, Linzinmeir worked at Aspen's Hotel Jerome and has been a frequent guest chef on NBC's TODAY show, where he's cooked everything from corn dogs to "Telluride Ski Patrol Pasta."
"Coming from the mountains of Telluride to Denver, Linzinmeir brings to the table an extensive knowledge of everything that is homegrown Colorado, having personally worked with the best farmers, ranchers and foragers across the state," says Ashley Cothran, an account executive at Turner PR, the public relations agency that's representing the restaurant, in a press release. In addition, Linzinmeir will lead the hotel's catering and room service programs.
Scheduled to open in July, the Nickel "will be a combination of many inspiration points I've been collecting throughout my career," notes Linzinmeir. "I've been fortunate enough to dine at some of the greatest places around the world -- and the most memorable experiences for me have been those that were simple, classic and could be enjoyed at any time of the day," he adds.
Barrel-aged spirits, along with Colorado craft beers, and an experiential coffee and wine lounge, will round out the beverage program. "It's much more fun to eat at a bar than drink in a restaurant -- and that's what we're creating at the Nickel," says Linzinmeir, adding that the inspiration for the menu comes from his years in the Rocky Mountains and, to that end, he'll "incorporate locally sourced ingredients into rustic, stripped-down Colorado fare.
Textiles sourced from the Rocky Mountain region, including custom-made furnishings and industrial materials, will be integrated into the design of the restaurant, the name of which pays tribute to the Teatro's historic past. An original vault, once used to collect nickels from customers riding streetcars, dates back to 1911, when the property was Denver's Tramway Building.
The new concept will offer morning coffee, lunch, weekend brunch and dinner. "We're excited to introduce the Nickel to everyone," says Afsi Bird, general manager of the Teatro. "We have a new team and will unveil a new lobby, a new culinary program and a new outlook on the next great destination for downtown Denver," she concludes.
Here's a TODAY show video we found of Linzinmeir, who seems to have a genuine appreciation for America's favorite carnival food: corn dogs.
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