North Carolina Restaurant Team Hires Chef John Broening to Open Avelina Downtown

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In January, we noticed a hand-painted sign reading "Lucia" at 1550 17th Street in downtown Denver, and learned that the space would soon become a new eatery from Urban Food Group, a team that currently operates five restaurants in North Carolina, including the original Lucia in Durham. It looks like the space will have a new identity, though: BusinessDen reports that it will be called Avelina — and that it will feature a menu from well-known Denver chef John Broening.

Broening was most recently in the kitchen at Argyll Whisky Beer, but had already earned a solid reputation for his work at Le Grand Bistro, Duo and Olivea. His experience cooking Mediterranean cuisine will be a good fit at Avelina, which will feature fare from Italy, Spain and Greece. Broening also owned and operated Spuntino with his wife, Jazmin Lozada-Hissom, until they sold the Italian eatery to their former employees, Cindhura Reddy and Elliot Strathmann, in 2014. 

Urban Food Group is owned by Kevin and Stacey Jennings, whose other restaurants include two locations of Vivace (an Italian concept), a French brasserie called Coquette. and a burger-and-pizza place called Chow. They expect to open Avelina in July, adding 5,000 square feet and 120 seats to the downtown dining scene.

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