Food News

The Community Mourns Table 6 Owner Aaron Forman

Aaron Forman was influential in the Denver dining scene.
Aaron Forman was influential in the Denver dining scene. Table 6
With a career that spanned more than two decades, Aaron Forman was widely known, loved and respected in the local dining scene. The longtime owner of Table 6 at 609 Corona Street passed away the evening of February 10, and the news spread quickly as friends posted tributes to the man known for many things, including his kindness, hospitality and memorable style.

"The restaurant remains open and running at full steam, and we're doing our best to manage the incredible volume of incoming support and condolences," says Colleen Eager, spokesperson for Table 6. A memorial celebration will take place at Bull & Bush Brewery, 4700 Cherry Creek Drive South, on Sunday, February 26 from 2 to 6 p.m.; guests are encouraged to dress "Forms-y."

Forman's impact on the city's culinary scene was far-reaching, and his memory will live on through the many people whose lives he touched. "We are so comforted by the community that has reached out to reconnect and remember him," Table 6 shared in a Facebook post confirming the news.
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Aaron Forman (right) with Table 6 chef Aniedra Nichols.
Table 6
In 2008, then-Westword critic Jason Sheehan declared that "Table 6 is a nearly perfect restaurant, describing Forman "walking plates, pouring wine, greeting friends" on a frigid winter night. And the restaurant just got better; last September, we caught up with chef Aniedra Nichols, who took the helm in the kitchen in 2020.

Journalist Simone FM Spinner interviewed Forman for her 2018 book Denver Food: A Culinary Evolution (Arcadia Publishing). "He was such a generous soul," she wrote in a Facebook post, adding that she spent hours interviewing him for the project.
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Aaron Forman was a hospitality expert.
Table 6
Here is an excerpt from the book that gives some insight into Forman's path to Table 6 and his approach to running a restaurant:

Every city has that restaurant that stands out as an industry favorite. It is the place where chefs and servers go on their rare nights off to gather and dine on incredible food among their peers and other culinary sensualists. For the last decade in Denver, that restaurant has been nestled just off Corona Street in Capitol Hill. That restaurant, owned by Aaron Forman, is Table 6.

Aaron Forman went to work in restaurants for the flexibility and quick cash that could support his adventurous lifestyle. He landed in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in 1998 after being a professional dog musher for three years. Aaron enjoyed the athleticism of the area, particularly the skiing and the hiking. He started out as a busser, working for Ken Fredrickson at the iconic Terroir restaurant, a wine-driven dining experience nestled in the ski resort town. He worked his way up to expediter, became a server and then rose to manager.

When Aaron does something, he goes all in, and he quickly recognized his talent for the business and for wine. Working under Fredrickson, a master sommelier, Aaron was able to access an exalted learning experience and learned something new every day. Within three years, he eventually worked every position at Terroir and learned the flow necessary for success in restaurants. Aaron worked alongside an ambitious and daring group of entrepreneurial-minded restaurant staffers, including Ryan Gaudin, Mike Young and Chris Gregory, all now well established in the restaurant scene in Denver. Before opening internationally renowned Frasca Food & Wine in Boulder, master sommelier Bobby Stuckey worked the floor at Terroir, as did master sommelier Keith Goldstein.

Aaron was quite comfy in Jackson Hole, living life on his own terms, skiing by day and turning tables by night, but eventually, this talented group of men began looking for something new. One thing that I have learned in researching this book is that restaurant people love new and exciting challenges. So, in 2002, Chef Bryan Moscatello, Aaron, Ryan, Mike and Chris ventured to Denver looking for their next big thing; Aaron decided to look even further west. He was "itching to do another project" and partnered with a friend who wanted to open something in Honolulu, Hawaii. There were consecutive research trips to New York City on private jets decked out with vintage Taittinger champagne, Beluga caviar and mean girls. It didn't take long for Aaron to realize that this wasn't the scene for him, so on Christmas Day, he traveled back to Denver. He felt defeated, sitting in a middle seat at the back of the airplane on an economy flight, with his tail between his legs.

Desperate for work, he looked up his former group of colleagues, now ensconced nicely at Adega Restaurant & Wine Bar, located on the corner of Seventeenth and Wynkoop Streets in the quickly gentrifying LoDo neighborhood of Denver. Adega, Portuguese for "above ground wine cellar," was an exceptionally beautiful restaurant housed in an old red-brick Historic Register building. ...

Ryan Gaudin was working as the Adega general manager and hired Aaron as a cocktail waiter. The position was supposed to be temporary until a server position became available. One his first night at pre-service lineup, Aaron couldn't help but notice that he was the only man standing in a line of beautiful women. How was he going to make this work? Well, work it did. On his first night, he sold enough wine to contribute $800 to the pool of tips. At the same time, Mike Huff, the owner, was expanding his operation and looking for new locations to play with. He had already opened Mirepoix in Cherry Creek and came across a house-turned-restaurant on 6th Avenue called Beehive. Huff was able to purchase Beehive, christening the tiny space Table 6 around the same time. Aaron was recruited to run Table 6. He became the general manager of the new restaurant on his thirtieth birthday, April 5, 2004. He has been there since.

Table 6 has always been a labor of love and an industry favorite. Ahead of the trend, Aaron took the refinement of Adega for the front of the house operation, focusing on flawless service and generous hospitality. He combined this with incredibly thoughtful representations of simple home cooking. Aaron was greatly inspired by his mother's cooking in his 1980s suburban Chicago home. Known for his take on tater tots, duck confit and beignets, Forman adheres to seasonality for his menu. On any given night, Table 6 is always one of the greatest meals to be found in Denver. ...

And what is [Forman's] favorite meal? "I have always been a meat and potatoes kind of kid, my mom's cooking, dad was a great cook, too. They gave me a lot of exposure to great but simple food. I have a lot of exposure to the best food in the world. We play, but let ingredients do the talking, or it can get lost and disjointed."
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Molly Martin is the Westword Food & Drink editor. She’s been writing about the dining scene in Denver since 2013, and was eating her way around the city long before that. She enjoys long walks to the nearest burrito joint and nights spent sipping cocktails on Colfax.
Contact: Molly Martin

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