A few years ago, Joel Cline, a Denver chef who's cooked at Castle Pines golf club, the long-gone Adega and the recently shuttered Argyll, was eyeing a space in downtown Littleton, where he planned to open a crepe cafe. But while he was pondering the situation, Penzys Spices, a national chain, grabbed it, leaving Cline still in search of square footage.
He soon found it after a chance meeting with Paul Laird (no relation to Brian Laird), who owns the Fat Frog Cafe, a former bar, also in Littleton, that's just a few storefronts down from Penzys. "A friend introduced us, and Paul was done with the bar thing, and he had the exact same idea that I did -- to open a crepe, salad and gourmet sandwich cafe," says Cline.
A partnership eventually emerged from their meeting, and on November 15, Laird and Cline will re-open the Fat Frog Cafe as a crepe bar elevated by salads and sandwiches. "It's my first real opportunity to show a little flash and flair and to do some unusual things with the menu," says Cline. "We're bringing in bangers from Continental Sausage for a bangers and mash crepe that we're doing, and we're also doing a snow crab crepe -- with the real stuff, not the imitation crab." In addition, notes Cline, the kitchen will turn out sweet crepes, including one with bananas, peanut butter and chocolate shavings.
"We're doing some really interesting sandwiches, too," he promises. To wit: A sandwich that goes by the name "granddaddy" and comes heaped with nearly a pound of roast beef, mashed red potatoes, brown gravy, anaheim peppers and caramelized onions on a baguette. "We're just a cool cafe with some really cool stuff," says Cline.
The 1,400 square-foot storefront, built in the 1800s and transported from its original location by horse and buggy, will pimp sixty seats, an exhibition crepe bar with a granite countertop and hardwood floors. And, says Cline, the cafe will morph into a restaurant in the evenings, with several dinner specials. "We're going to be more of a family-oriented cafe during the day, but we'll have a lot of fun at night and on the weekends," he says, adding, too, that the space will showcase a few TVs and occasional live entertainment.
When the Fat Frog Cafe opens the doors in November, its hours will be Tuesday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Cline will also do brunch on the weekends.
For more info, call 303-794-8507.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.