Chef Terence Rogers founded his catering company, TBD Foods, in 2018, and has been moving toward a sustainable, zero-waste model ever since. Last year, he created a pop-up called Lil' Scrap Kitchen to sell sandwiches made from the leftover ingredients of high-end catering events. And now Rogers is ready to open his own restaurant, Sullivan Scrap Kitchen, with the same goal of eliminating waste.
Earlier this year, Rogers purchased the building at 1740 East 17th Avenue that was previously home to Bocaza Mexican Grille. "We started looking for a property last year with Broad Street Real Estate," the chef explains. "We were supposed to close [on the real estate] in December, but the delay ended up being a blessing in disguise, because otherwise we would have opened in March, right before everything shut down.
With most of his catering business on hold over the past three months, Rogers, his fiancée, Holly Adinoff, and his chef, Jonathan Suh, have had more time time to set up their new restaurant and plan a menu. And they've come up with a roster of tacos, grain bowls, salads and sandwiches built on house-baked focaccia, with many of the dishes built around food items that would normally be considered scraps from fancier dishes. For example, Rogers buy whole and half sides of meat from Triple M Bar Ranch and other local purveyors that he breaks down for his catering company, and the less-utilized parts of the animals go toward ground beef or are used in sauces and soups.
Likewise, vegetables are fully utilized. Rogers buys as much produce as possible from farmers' markets and local farms, and stocks up on storable items like locally milled cornmeal, potatoes and root vegetables for the winter months. Ugly produce that wouldn't make it into a salad gets used in sauces and soups, and trimmings are fermented and used to add acidity to dishes. "We'll buy whole lamb, half pigs and quarter cows, and find ways to use everything — skin, bones, legs, thighs," the chef notes. "I also make mushroom-stem risotto by cutting up the stems small enough that there's no difference in texture."
Sullivan Scrap Kitchen will also serve as the headquarters for TBD Foods, so making full use of all the food in the kitchen will be easy. And Rogers plans to train new employees through the James Beard Foundation Waste Not program.
The restaurant will initially open for lunch Tuesday through Saturday, with a goal of opening on June 23. The plan is to have plenty of takeout options initially, contactless menus and well-spaced seating inside the small dining room and patio. Rogers says he's applied with the City of Denver for a temporary patio extension to give more space for safe dining. Dinner hours and a liquor license are also in the works, but those will likely be in place later in the summer.
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