The Village Cork opened its doors to customers last night for the first time in four months, when the tiny Platt Park wine bar and bistro closed for a remodel. The space is still charming and rustic, but now there's a little more space -- for the cooks as well as the customers. A new open kitchen at the back of the restaurant, complete with a chef's counter for guests who like to experience all in action, has taken the place of the cramped setup that had previously served as a kind of combination kitchen and bar.
That space has been converted to a more traditional bar with a full liquor license and plenty of seating. The focus is still on wine, but customers will now be able to order cocktails and spirits from a list that leans toward Colorado producers.
Also new: lunch hours and a separate lunch menu featuring a sampling of sandwiches, soups, pastas and cheese plates. The dinner menu is small, but comprises a seasonal list of organic comfort dishes based on Colorado-sourced meats and produce. With a bigger kitchen, the crew can put out complete entrees and slow-cooked options such as Wagyu beef cheeks and more complex offerings like striped bass with parsnip latkes, gold beet slaw and sorrel pistou. As before the remodel, the menu will change with the seasons. And since the kitchen hasn't been open since summer, most of the dishes on the fall menu are all new.
The Village Cork was opened fourteen years ago by Lisa Lapp, who has continuously evolved the concept but had been running out of room to offer guests a full dining experience until the remodel, much of which was performed by her husband, Mike. She created the bar and chef's counter surfaces herself from thousands of wine corks and clear resin. "It was a lot of hard work," says Mike, "but it was worth it."
The Village Cork is now open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight on Fridays, and 5 p.m. to midnight on Saturdays.
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Keep reading for interior photos of the newly expanded Village Cork.