Denver Hose House No. 1, the brick edifice with the arched windows at 20th and Chestnut streets downtown, has been standing almost as long as Denver itself. What was once home to Denver's first volunteer fire department has been undergoing a renovation over the past two years and will be part of a new Hilton hotel opening on the corner later this year. The old firehouse will be home to Woodie Fisher, a restaurant named for Redwood "Woodie" Fisher, who died trying to stop a runaway horse-drawn fire wagon in the late 1800s.
The blocks between Union Station and the Millennium Bridge have been transformed over the past several years, with two new grocery stores, several hotels and towering apartment buildings filling in what was previously little more than dirt lots and railyards. Residents and developers have been calling the area, once known as the Bottoms, the Union Station neighborhood.
Woodie Fisher sits on the corner of the property, now dwarfed by the Hilton Garden Inn immediately behind. Once open this summer, the restaurant will be led by executive chef Kelli Daniels, who most recently worked at the now-closed Briarwood Inn in Golden. Daniels has worked in Denver for only a few years, but she started cooking in her father's restaurant when she was just eleven, and ran her own food truck and catering business as well as serving as chef in restaurants in Kansas City and Memphis. Her style, which will be reflected on Woodie Fisher's menu, encompasses Mediterranean cuisine and Lowcountry cooking from her time in the South and at her dad's restaurant, as well as local and seasonal ingredients from her new home.
"I’ve lived in Colorado for just over two years," Daniels says. "Seasonality in Colorado is unlike seasonality elsewhere. Because of the high plains and the dry climate, the seasonality of ingredients has to be on point to incorporate in dishes. I like the challenge in truly having to switch up the ingredients I work with throughout the year."
The chef, who has competed on Food Network episodes of Cutthroat Kitchen, Chef Wanted With Anne Burrell and Chopped, adds that she has trained under three certified French Masters in the U.S., and that both Mediterranean and Lowcountry cuisine are part of her family's heritage.
Because of its proximity to Coors Field and Union Station, the restaurant will be a family-friendly destination, so a little ballpark influence on the menu is also part of the plan. The space will seat 175 guests and will include a private dining room, chef's counter, patio and bar. Look for a spring opening for Woodie Fisher.
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