"I want to bring the upscale downtown bistro feel to the suburbs," says Jane Knauf, a former executive at the Magnolia Hotel, who, along with Brett Shaheen, fresh off the heels as exec chef of Osteria Marco, will open the Wooden Table next week at 2500 East Orchard Road, in Greenwood Village.
Knauf and Shaheen, who worked together years ago at the long gone Sambuca Cafe (now Rack & Rye Gastropub), had always talked about opening their own restaurant, and Shaheen, recalls Knauf, approached her last November to say that he was finally ready to take the plunge. "We've honestly wanted to do a restaurant together for eleven years, and when Brett came to me late last year and said that he was ready to take the leap, so was I, and while I'm having heart palpitations, I couldn't be more excited, especially since Brett is so amazing on the culinary side," she says.
Shaheen, of course, knows a thing or three about Italian cuisine from his lengthy time on the line at Osteria Marco, in addition to a stint as the chef de cuisine at Luca d'Italia, and his experiences there, notes Knauf, are indicative of what the Wooden Table is all about. "The menu is definitely Italian-influenced, because that's where Brett's talents lie," she says, adding that Shaheen is making all of his own pasta and charcuterie in-house, along with several cheeses. And he's also doubling as the pastry chef. "He's incredibly talented and creative, and we're having a blast putting the restaurant and the menu together."
The space is bedecked with -- what else? -- wooden tables, including a long centerpiece community table that's constructed from myrtlewood and hand-crafted by Taos, New Mexico-based artist Jeffrey Hills; the bar, which should be finished by the end of this week, will be made from reclaimed Pennsylvania cherry wood. "We wanted to create a comfortable family environment, and the wood is warm and and welcoming," says Knauf. "This is the kind of restaurant that's going to be part of the community, the kind of restaurant where customers will be known by their first names. This is the kind of restaurant that's here to stay."
The Wooden Table will open on Wednesday, September 14, and will serve lunch Monday through Friday, and dinner Monday through Saturday. For more details, call 303-730-2152.