Amid all of the construction dust and noise along Brighton Boulevard, a hidden restaurant space has remained vacant in the Industry building since Tengu Ramen closed more than a year ago. But the dust will soon settle and chef Cory Baker of Sushi Ronin (2930 Umatilla Street in LoHi) is looking ahead to when a whole spate of new apartments will open on the stretch, so he's opening Izakaya Ronin at the address — 3053 Brighton Boulevard — this fall.
"We're going to be doing a split concept," Baker explains, "with the same kind of Sushi Ronin sushi bar upstairs, and downstairs will be a late-night izakaya — a semi-speakeasy type of place that will stay open until one or two in the morning."
In Japan, izakayas are after-work bars where workers head for drinks and drinking food; they generally serve multiple waves of customers, from the five o'clock crowd to service-industry employees getting off late shifts. So Baker wants to make sure to include his industry colleagues at his Industry spot, by serving food and drinks past the standard Denver bedtime.
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Baker opened the original Sushi Ronin with partner Alex Gurevich in January 2016, adding a unique Japanese eatery to LoHi complete with uncommon traditional plates, an omakase experience at the sushi bar and a honed cocktail menu designed to complement the food. Baker says the beverage program at the new Ronin will be similar but will pair well with the Japanese bar bites that come with the izakaya theme.
The chef hopes to have Izakaya Ronin open sometime in October, joining Mister Tuna and Will Call in the Industry building. In the meantime, you can experience the vibe that Baker wants to capture in a video posted on the restaurant's Facebook page.