Meanwhile, the trains of progress keep rollin' into LoDo, where Flat Pennies is set to open October 5 in Union Station. Although the restaurant will focus on the lunch bunch looking for sandwiches (chicken predominant), general manager Troy Johnston plans to continue serving that menu well into the evening and hopes to draw the happy-hour crowd with half-price appetizers and twelve beers on tap (nine will be local microbrews). The restaurant also will offer a small breakfast lineup, including Belgian waffles and the "train wreck" plate. There's some hush-hush over who owns the place; Johnston says the limited partnership is called Railway Diner, but someone else he declines to name also is involved.
Across the street at 1730 Wynkoop Street, the industrious trio at Enoteca Lodo is assembling what's purported to be one of the largest wine lists this city has seen. (Enoteca is Italian for "wine library," but, coincidentally, the word spelled backward is "acetone.") Owners John McGuigan and Marquis Sauvage, along with general manager Simon Cocks, are taking their time about it, though--Enoteca isn't scheduled to open until sometime in January.
And then, of course, there are the chains, which continue to match locals' efforts opening for opening. Zuma, an upscale Mexican burrito joint out of California, has set up shop at 550 Grant Street. The concept--fresh, low-fat fast food--seems to cross Chez Jose with Chipotle Grill, but the ingredients on the tiny menu sound more like Mexico meets the Mediterranean: poblano pesto, eggplant and red peppers, Caesar-style salad with black olives. Still, better to pull in there than next door at Kenny Rogers Roasters. And I'm actually hearing good things about Piatti, at 190 St. Paul Street, another California venture (what--if that state's residents move here, are the restaurants required to as well?). I'd feared Piatti would be another Olive Garden, but this place offers sauces that are fresher than just-out-of-the-can, and the menu lists such tantalizing prospects as sweetbreads, carpaccio, fresh salmon with mascarpone cream sauce and veal scallopine layered with prosciutto, mozzarella and sage.
Yet another chain, Red Lobster, reportedly is assembling a think tank at the Gold Lake Ranch in Ward some weekend soon to pick the minds of brilliant chefs from around the country. The list is small--among the five or six is Anne Rosenzweig from Arcadia--but it includes our own Kevin Taylor (Zenith American Grill, Cafe Iguana and the soon-to-be Dandelions in Boulder) and Dave Query (Zolo and JAX in Boulder). Hmmm...think they'll recommend that the Lobster go Southwestern?