Vail chicken joint Yellowbelly came to town this week, with a fundraiser for No Kid Hungry last night and the official opening of its Stanley Marketplace eatery today. This is the third Yellowbelly since founders Barry Davis, Michael Friedberg and Eric Wuppermann opened the first in 2012 (there's also a Boulder Yellowbelly).
Joe Serafin, one of the founders of Noodles & Company, also joined the team before the launch of the newest Yellowbelly and will help guide the company with future expansion, with five more locations planned over the next two years in metro Denver.
Wupperman, born in Trinidad and Tobago, is the chef of the operation; he adds Caribbean touches to fried and rotisserie chicken as well as to healthy sides like citrus quinoa and Brussels sprouts slaw. Friedberg, a former U.S. Ski Team member and current professional cyclist, says healthy choices are important for Yellowbelly's customers. "In the summer, all of our vegetables come from Full Circle Farms and Munson Farms here in Colorado," he notes, adding that pressure-frying the gluten-free chicken in rice-bran oil helps keep the coating from absorbing oil; each fried tender is only ninety calories.
Yellowbelly is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., with family packs on the menu for the surrounding neighborhoods as well as a delivery option from Postmates.
While there's still plenty of construction in and around the massive marketplace — more of a shopping mall without anchor stores than food halls and markets like Avanti Food & Beverage or Denver Central Market — food vendors are starting to settle in alongside a couple of retail shops. Here are six other restaurants and other food purveyors already open or coming early next week.
Stanley Beer Hall
The southwest corner of the marketplace is occupied by the startlingly urban Stanley Beer Hall — startling when you look out the windows onto grasslands and suburban housing developments. Wall murals, exposed beams and a high ceilings give the feeling of being in the RiNo warehouse district instead of the Aurora side of the Stapleton neighborhood. The Beer Hall is run by 5280 Hospitality, whose culinary director is chef Theo Adley, late of the RiNo Yacht Club and the Squeaky Bean before that. Joining the team is executive chef Anna Walter, who was one of the opening chefs at Cho77.
Beer-friendly food is the name of the game here, but not just wings and burgers (though you'll find those, too). Large plates include biergarten fare like crispy pork shank and American favorites like brisket and roast chicken, while smaller offerings range from poutine (both a classic Quebecois version and a rotating VIP poutine) to warm pretzels to devils on horseback. Don't expect neighborhood-bar presentations, though; Adley and Walter both have shown flair for creative and international cooking.
Cheluna Brewing Co.
Cheluna was the first business to open inside the former aviation factory, when it poured its first Mexican-themed brews in December. Current offerings include Rozha Hibiscus Lager, Tamarindo Gose, La Rubia Doppelweizen and Coco-Xoco Porter.
Sweet Cow Ice Cream
This Front Range ice cream empire extends to the Stanley beginning Tuesday, January 24, with many customer favorites, plus a few flavors, like Comida Horchata, inspired by the new location. This is the sixth outlet for the company, which got its start in Louisville in 2011. A children's play area with artificial turf and tiny cow-shaped stools right at the front entrance lets families know they're welcome.
Rayme Rossello started slinging tacos out of a hot-pink food truck before opening permanent cantinas in Longmont and inside the Source. The newest location is even more bold and vibrant than its predecessors and is made even more appealing with a west-facing patio that will open in warmer weather.
Logan House Coffee
Logan House has up until now been a coffee roaster that specialized in delivering coffee beans packaged in recycled wine bottles. Now the company is serving espresso drinks and other beverages inside its south-facing spot in the marketplace.
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Miette et Chocolat
This little shop inside the marketplace specializes in artistically made chocolates and French pastries. Co-owner Dave Lewis recently coated an enormous plaster sculpture of Peyton Manning in chocolate; He's joined by partner Gonzalo Jiménez in the pastry kitchen, which has wide display windows so that shoppers can see the confectionery in action.