More than a year has elapsed since chefs Bo Porytko and Dan Lasiy closed Rebel Restaurant, a divey joint where misfits felt at home both for the eclectic drink offerings and the adventurous menu that still stands out as one of the most wildly ambitious ever to hit Denver.
The chefs have popped up here and there to feed their fans (like at a marathon, fourteen-plate tasting dinner last spring at the Bindery), but now Porytko has found a slightly more permanent home. The chef is taking over the kitchen at the Middleman, a neighborhood cocktail bar at 3401 East Colfax Avenue, where he'll serve a menu of bar snacks, small plates and sandwiches under the name Misfit Snackbar.
Porytko says he'll be serving "fun and deviant food" similar to Rebel's, including flavored popcorns, housemade jerky and an assortment of pickles, like what what you'd find at the "diviest of drinking holes, but turning them on their head with a modern gastronomical approach."
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So there will be, for example, Caesar salad popcorn with fried anchovies, grated egg and powdered parmesan and garlic; pepperoni pizza popcorn; and curried popcorn with vadouvan seasoning, fried chickpeas and dehydrated vegetables. Porytko's sample menu, a work in progress, also includes kielbasa corndogs with buckwheat breading, kimchi croquettes and carrot enchiladas stuffed with spaghetti squash. The sandwich roster promises "the world's best grilled cheese sandwich" and a country fried short rib sandwich. Prices will range from $5 to $7 for snacks, $8 to $12 for small plates and $12 to $15 for sandwiches.
Jareb Parker opened the Middleman in the summer of 2018 with a small menu of New Mexican dishes to go with the booze. Porytko says he'll be working with the Middleman's bar team to come up with food-and-cocktail pairings and special events.
Misfit Snackbar will open on December 4, with service starting at 4 p.m. every day but Tuesday (when the Middleman is closed).