Construction Watch

New Southern brunch spot Four Friends Kitchen to hold groundbreaking ceremony in Stapleton

Proving that Denverites can't get enough of their brunch, Four Friends Kitchen, a new full-service breakfast, lunch and brunch joint, will hold its groundbreaking ceremony tomorrow at 2 p.m. in Stapleton's East 29th Avenue Town Center. The new restaurant-to-be is the dream of four friends and neighbors, Kurt and Sarah Pletcher and Tim and Genefer Thornton, and will provide a Southern-inspired menu to bring some comfort food into the morning routines of Stapleton's early (and not so early) risers. See also: Five best Southern food restaurants in Denver

Four Friends Kitchen all started when (unsurprisingly) the four friends realized that there weren't a whole lot of brunch options in their own Stapleton neighborhood. After a gestation period that involved some pretty "unscientific research," according to Tim Thornton, the four realized that friends and family all seemed pretty receptive to the idea of a Southern-inspired restaurant breakfast spot. With help from the Denver Small Business Development Center and a Small Business Administration loan, the "mom-and-pop" operation was ready to get rolling. The team of four snatched up one of the last open retail pads in Stapleton's stylish new East 29th Avenue Town Center, which already is home to a Starbucks, a Noodles & Co. and other popular chains.

Since Four Friends is owned by Stapleton locals, the menu and ambiance will aim specifically for the family-friendly (and brunch-loving) neighborhood. The building, once complete, will boast the first open-air rooftop dining spot in Stapleton's town center. Although Thornton acknowledges that they aren't the first Denver-area Southern brunch place (Sassafrass comes to mind), he says that his area needed its own spot.

"It fills a gap locally," Thornton says. Now instead of driving downtown, Stapleton residents can get their comfort-food fix closer to home. And local interest isn't the only reason for the menu: Genefer Thornton comes from a Southern background, with one side of the family hailing from Georgia, meaning she was raised on the tenets of southeastern cuisine. Her family also runs a restaurant in Idaho, where she grew up immersed in the culinary world.

Along with the in-house experience, Four Friends is also bringing in an outside chef and Tennessee native with over thirty years of culinary experience in Denver to help develop the menu and head the kitchen once the restaurant opens. While it may have just started as a conversation between friends, Four Friends Kitchen looks like it will have some serious experience behind it.

Although Thornton acknowledges the short notice of the groundbreaking ceremony, due to certain permits just getting finalized, the team didn't want to want to wait any longer. "We really wanted to hit the ground running with construction," he says. Basically, the sooner construction begins, the sooner Four Friends can start dishing up its food.

The current estimated opening date for Four Friends Kitchen is early 2015. Follow the Four Friends Twitter account for updates on the new restaurant.

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Kayla Hollenbaugh