Cafe Society

Year in Review: Red Star Deli lost its star chef

This week's Westword has no fresh restaurant review, since the issue is devoted to a look back at 2012 -- the big stories, the small triumphs -- as well as predictions of culinary trends to watch for in the new year.

I've reviewed sixteen spots since I joined the Cafe Society crew in September, and recently checked in with some of them to see what had transpired since I went in to eat, drink, and be merry. The biggest development? James Mazzio is gone from Red Star Deli.

See also: - The meat-centric Red Star Deli is a rising star - Foodography: James Mazzio opens Red Star Deli in Ice House - Chef and Tell with James Mazzio

Barely a month after my review of Red Star Deli appeared (it was a positive one, I might add), co-founder James Mazzio, a 1999 Food & Wine Best New Chef winner, departed from Red Star and Studio F, the ambitious concept that opened in March in the former Mise En Place Cooking School space in the Ice House. Studio F was designed to host fancy pop-up dinners and other special culinary events, but even the simpler deli fare at Red Star was a shining example of Mazzio's talents; his smoked chicken, Italiano and Cubano sandwiches were standouts.

In October, Mazzio was replaced by Glenn Smith, who'd run a private chef business in Aspen, and John Little, formerly of The Pullman in Glenwood Springs. According to Smith, they're now finalizing a slightly smaller menu for Red Star Deli that will be more in step with the seasons. Look for dishes such as kale salad with currants, pine nuts and parmesan, and a braised short rib sandwich on sourdough.

Red Star's breakfast lineup is expected to stay the same -- which should come as a relief to denizens of LoDo, because those breakfast burritos were the real stars.


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Gretchen Kurtz has worked as a writer for 25 years; during that time she's stomped grapes in Napa, eaten b'stilla in Fez, and baked with Buddy Valastro, aka the Cake Boss. Her work has appeared in publications including Boulevard (Paris), Diversion, the New York Times and Westword. Our restaurant critic since 2012, she loves helping you decide where to eat and drink tonight.
Contact: Gretchen Kurtz