Food News

Jasinski, Gruitch and Pierce to Bring Iberian Influences to Union Station With Ultreia

Stoic & Genuine, the seafood restaurant and raw bar from chef Jennifer Jasinski and Beth Gruitch, was the first restaurant to open in the renovated Union Station when the downtown landmark relaunched in 2014. And now, two years later, Jasinski and Gruitch's restaurant group, Crafted Concepts, along with S&G chef Jorel Pierce, has announced that it will add a second eatery in the station's Great Hall. Ultreia will move into the 1,900-square-foot space that was once Fresh eXpress, with an expected opening day in the first quarter of 2017. And like Stoic & Genuine, Ultreia will feature a mezzanine level that will be part of the buildout.

Ultreia's menu will focus on the tapas and pintxos of Spain and Portugal; the name itself comes from the shouts of encouragement (translated as "Onward!") given to pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago trail on their way to the shrine of St. James in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. “We are not Spanish, but we plan to pay respect to the classics and put our own unexpected twists onto them,” says Jasinski in the announcement.

Gruitch and Jasinski recently returned from a research trip to the two countries; they plan to introduce their discoveries to Denver at the new restaurant. “Our trip confirmed the passion for ingredients and techniques that we expected from the Iberian peninsula," Jasinski adds.

Pierce will be embarking on his own fact-finding mission to the Iberian Peninsula in September, and together the three will feature cuisine and beverages inspired by their visits, with possibilities ranging from an Andalusian almond-and-garlic soup called ajo blanco to seafood like sardines and octopus to larger plates like roasted leg of lamb. 

Crafted Concepts also operates Rioja, Euclid Hall and Bistro Vendôme, all at Larimer Square, so Ultreia will be the fifth restaurant for the group. Tapas — and Spanish cuisine in general — are hard to come by in Denver, so a fresh Iberian breeze from Crafted Concepts will be a welcome addition to Union Station.

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Mark Antonation is the former Westword Food & Drink Editor. In 2018, he was named Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he's now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
Contact: Mark Antonation