We're rooting for Root Down

Root Down, Justin Cucci's spanking-new restaurant, isn't slated to officially open until Friday afternoon -- but we have it on good authority that if you stop by 1600 West 33rd Avenue this evening, Root Down will have its doors open.

And what doors they are. We stopped by for a preview last night -- and stayed a lot longer than we should have, sucked in by the cool, clean look of the place, built around an old service station (the bar's now in that space), with comfy booth seating and big windows that offer a stunning view of towntown at night.


The food is just as stunning. Although the final menu wasn't available last night, it's certain to include innovative small plates as well as salads, soups and entrees. The veggie burger sliders we tried were amazing, and the Spanish Caesar salad (with frozen Xerez vinegar) had more snap than the air outside. Come summer, two gardens -- one on the patio and one on the roof -- will provide some of the ingredients for chef Ryan Leinonen's dishes. And in the meantime, he and Cucci are trying to source things locally when possible. The coffee, for example, comes from Novo.

It's a tough time to open a restaurant, but Cucci has carefully thought out every aspect of his place. We're rooting for root down.

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