Photo preview: Guard and Grace opens February 13 -- and Cory Treadway will lead the line

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Troy Guard's presence in Denver is growing faster than the lines to buy weed. The prolific chef and restaurateur, who already operates TAG, TAG|RAW BAR, TAG Burger Bar, Los Chingones and Sugarmill, is now setting his sights on steak, and on Thursday, February 13, at 5 p.m., he'll add Guard and Grace, a testosterone-charged shrine to sheer to his ever-growing repertoire of restaurants. And, at 9,000 square feet, it's his biggest project to date.

See also: Exclusive first look: Troy Guard's Los Chingones opens December 4

The modern, free flowing space, which sits front and center in the CenturyLink tower -- the second tallest skyscraper in Denver -- will be accessible from the building's indoor plaza entrance and a separate outdoor entrance, and on snowy, blustery days like this, guests will no doubt appreciate the fact that there's a glass-enclosed waiting area to shield the movers and shakers from the elements. Glass, in fact, is prevalent throughout the winding quarters: a glass-sheathed, temperature-controlled wine room trumpets a staggering 4,000-bottle collection, all of which will be overseen by Todd Rocchio, the former sommelier at Elways' Cherry Creek -- and Guard says that oenophiles will have the opportunity to peruse (and taste) the selections within the confines of the wine room.

The walls, most of which are floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the street and fifty-seat patio, are augmented by stained hardwood floors, ceilings beamed with lumber, three private dining rooms that can be minimized to one, a mammoth exhibition kitchen with a chef's counter, a gold, octagonal-tiled, wraparound bar and an eight-seat raw bar welled with seafood. "The raw bar is going to be killer, and the seats around it are going to be the hottest seats in the restaurant," says Guard, who also added an elevating seating area bedecked with charcoal, crescent-shaped booths. A "living" wall, just adjacent to the entrance, will also be on display.

The menu, which will tout steaks, the requisite sides, charcuterie, flatbread, fish and handmade pastas, including gnocchi, will be overseen, as will the kitchen, by Cory Treadway, who spent several years behind the line grilling steaks at Elway's Cherry Creek alongside Tyler Wiard and the last year and a half as the executive chef of Wynkoop Brewery.

After Guard and Grace, the name of which is an ode to his daughter, opens on February 13, hours will be 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday; 5 to 11 p.m. on Saturday; and 5 to 9 p.m. on Sunday. Happy hour will run from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. And brunch, says Guard, will sprout in the spring.

Guard gave me a preview of the space last week; here's a first look at what you can expect in addition to powerhouse steaks.

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