New Chef, Cocktails and Coffee Keep Watercourse Foods Fresh

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Nearly nine months after Lauren Roberts and Jennifer Byers took ownership of the veteran veggie restaurant Watercourse Foods, a few changes have been made to the menu, the decor and the head chef. We stopped in to see what’s new and what’s remained the same. Previously, the restaurant only served mimosas and Bloody Marys, but with the expansion to a full bar, Watercourse has added a cocktail menu that includes original creations like the staff-favorite chocolate martini and a vegan twist on a Pisco sour. Most noticeable of aesthetic changes are at the cocktail bar and coffee bar, along with some new paint and minor touch-ups. In an expansion of the coffee program, Watercourse is now serving coffee from Huckleberry Roasters and has plans to open earlier to appeal to the morning coffee crowd.
With chef Olumuyiwa Augustine, most recently from The Little Nell in Aspen, on board, the dining menu is transitioning to less fried and more fresh. Watercourse has been heavy on comfort food for some time, so owner Lauren Roberts says that she's excited to see some new, lighter dishes come through and is really excited to have so much talent in the kitchen. Augustine likes to think of the changes he is bringing to Watercourse as a global dining experience — from curry to carbonara to plantain tamales. In a joking manner he says, “Bring your passport. You can travel around the world in one restaurant.” 

Thus far, the menu has seen the addition of nineteen new or different food items in addition to the new coffee and nine cocktails.
When we spoke with the mother/daughter duo last summer, Jennifer Byers compared the learning curve of owning a restaurant to that of drinking water from a fire hose. Nine months later, Byers says it’s been really nice now that they are settled in a little more and have the capacity to do fun things like add new menu items and develop the merchandising more. Roberts insists that she and her mother still work really well together (despite facetious threats to quit). Roberts praises Byers for what she has brought to the partnership and how much they are able to learn from each other.

Previous owner Dan Landes, who still retains a minority stake in the restaurant, makes an appearance every few months to meet with Roberts and Byers, but for the most part, he's working on projects of his own. Roberts says she feels lucky to have had him as a resource, but also very fortunate that things are going well enough that they don’t need him close by. According to Roberts, business has been growing, and they are excited for the next chapters in the months to come.   

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