Openings and Closings

The Kitchen [Next Door] will take sustainability seriously

Last Friday we got a first look at the The Kitchen [Next Door], the third in the growing family of restaurants that started seven years ago when The Kitchen sprang to life on the west end of Pearl Street in Boulder. Partners Kimbal Musk and Hugo Matheson will open their new spot on June 9.

Like the two restaurants that came before, the Kitchen [Next Door] will emphasize sustainability. Musk's wife, Jen, is leading the transformation of the former Seven Eurobar-cum-Abo's Circle Bar into a space, built from sustainable materials, that will feel old even when it's new: Beetle-kill pine will surface the floors, reclaimed Douglas fir will top the bar, and hundred-year-old industrial stainless-steel windows will replace the garage doors that once lined Pearl Street in the front of the room.

Community manager Sara Brito describes the feel as "industrial warehouse": "This is where we make food, not just where food is served."

All ingredients for that food -- the menu will include such items as a shaved-lamb sandwich, vegan beet burger and garlic mashers (smashed fingerling potatoes dropped in the deep fryer and then coated in garlic butter), as well as the pork sandwich and tomato soup from the Kitchen -- will come from local farmers.

"It's prep-focused," explains Kimbal Musk. "We think that everyone would choose farm-to-table if they had the means and the time. We want [Next Door] to give the community an inexpensive farm-to-table option that someone could get even if they only had ten minutes for lunch."

The menu is being matched to an innovative beverage program as the restaurant tries to drastically reduce waste and recycling by serving everything on tap. Kegs of chardonnay, pinot noir and cabernet made specifically for the Kitchen will be supplemented by five domestically produced guest kegs; eleven Colorado brews will rotate into the taps not occupied by a proprietary Kitchen beer. And while natural sodas will pour from a tapline, spirits won't be on the menu -- at least not until the restaurant can get those in a barrel, too.

But that's not all the partners have plotted for [Next Door]. "We're trying to get really aggressive on the school garden side," explains Musk. "And we're about using the for-profit restaurant business to accelerate putting more gardens in more schools."

[Next Door] is taking responsibility for educating kids about good food, offering up a kids' menu of healthy choices that the restaurant has already tested on fifty Whittier fourth-graders; Brito says the pint-sized pork sandwich was the biggest hit.

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk