The Name Game

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Naming conventions and fryer temps aside, it cost me $31 for three dogs, three sides and three drinks, which was too much by about half. If I'm paying 31 bucks for hot dogs, I expect them to come with a baseball game to watch and maybe a chance at catching a home-run ball. Here my 31 bucks bought me a view of a used-car lot and a giant billboard recently put up by the folks from Heidi's Brooklyn Deli, which announces: "Great News For Hot Dog Lovers," reminding all and sundry (but particularly New Yorkers) that Heidi's has dogs, too, and uses Nathan's Famous brand weiners.

Leftovers: Last week, news came down that chef Tyler Wiard is jumping across the Creek from Mel's Restaurant and Bar to Elway's, and that Charles Schwerd, Elway's former chef, is bumping up to corporate chef, which means the folks behind Elway's (including Big John himself and Tim Schmidt) could be thinking outside the Denver box.

"The reality is that Tim Schmidt owns three other -- soon to be five other -- Hacienda Colorados," says Tom Moxcey, manager of Elway's. The original three are in the metro area, but the others will likely be outside the market. And all of those Hacienda Colorados, though not in need of day-to-day oversight by a corporate chef, will need some menu planning and direction from an off-site executive.

Which is handy, because Schwerd is looking at moving to Arizona.

"Charles will be able to work with them, but not be here on a day-to-day basis," Moxcey adds.

As for Elway's, while Moxcey concedes that an expansion of that concept is a "possibility," he says there's been no serious discussion yet. For the Cherry Creek mainstay, Wiard will write a new menu that follows the protein-steak-seafood model that's already proven so successful, and this menu will "continue to evolve," Moxcey tells me. "What we always said was that we wanted to open one really good restaurant. And we're not there yet, but we're getting there."

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Jason Sheehan
Contact: Jason Sheehan