Lon Symensma Opens Kaya Kitchen in Avanti

Long before Avanti Food & Beverage {3200 North Pecos Street, Denver; 720.269.4778} was an eclectic mix of all things culinary, the original building, erected in 1861, served as a printing press. When co-owner Rob Hahn procured the building, he initially tapped Denver favorite Lon Symensma to open his own restaurant. Although the restaurant didn’t pan out, the two kept in contact as the incubator concept flourished. With a slew of diners requesting Asian fare, there was no better time to for the duo to collaborate, culminating in Avanti’s newest concept Kaya Kitchen opening July 26.

Story and Photography by Morgan Carter. Read the full piece here. 

8 Westminster Restaurants You Should Try

Navajo Fry Bread Tacos | Photo by Morgan Carter

Acting as a midpoint between Boulder and Denver, it’s very easy to coast right through the city of Westminster. But we recommend making a stop—our neighbors up north have something going on. From competition-worthy barbecue to cult status Tex-Mex, here are seven restaurants you should check out in Westminster.

Read more here. 

Matt Selby Returns with Bremen’s Wine & Tap

Porchetta Sandwich with aged provolone topped spicy rapini and meat jus | Morgan Carter

We’ve always had a love for Matt Selby. Spanning a career of nearly 20 years, Selby is best known in the Denver scene for his 15-year long tenure at Vesta before acting as opening chef for both Steuben’s and Ace. Over the next few years, Selby bounced around town with stints at Corner House, Central Bistro, and most recently, Punch Bowl Social. We’ve been waiting to see what Selby would tackle next and our wait is finally over, as Selby introduced Bremen’s Wine & Tap {2005 West 33rd Avenue, Denver; 720.504.4410} this June.

Six Must-Do Events at Slow Food USA

Photo courtesy of Slow Food Nations

Slow Food Nations has finally landed in Denver. Since its start in 1989, the Slow Food movement has grown globally involving millions of people reaching over 160 countries. So what is Slow Food? Slow Food is a grassroots organization, with a mission to prevent the disappearance of local food and traditions and to counteract the rise of fast life and disconnect to food. This three-day long event will focus on sustainable sourcing, food policy, and a return to clean eating. There are many free and ticketed events happening all weekend long; here are some of our favorites.

Read more here. 

Sneak Peek of French 75

french 75

Interior at French 75

After months of anticipation, Frank Bonanno’s newest creation, French 75 {717 17th Street Suite B, Denver; 303.405.7575} is set to open on Monday, July 17. Marking Bonanno’s 10th restaurant (well technically 11th, if you count Lou’s Food Bar, which shuttered this past winter), French 75 exudes a level of casual sophistication with intimate plush booths, exposed brick, and a connected bar/open kitchen spanning the length of the restaurant, blurring the line between guests and staff. The glass-accented mezzanine, which can be made private, is surrounded by top-shelf bottles of bubbly that nod to the concept’s cocktail inspiration. But make no mistake; Bonanno’s latest venture is meant to be business casual.

“Even though we may not look like a classic neighborhood bistro, at French 75, I want to highlight true and honest French food,” explains Bonanno. Billed as Mizuna’s little sister, French 75 hopes to fill a neighborhood niche, introducing casual Parisian fare to the business district.

What to eat

french 75

Lobster Mac ‘n’ Cheese

For starters, we highly recommend the craveable Lobster Bisque and the traditional Steak Tartare served with toasted slices of broiche. A homage to Mizuna, the decadently creamy Mizuna Lobster Macaroni & Cheese enjoys do-not-miss status. The menu offers a full lineup of lighter eats, too, including salads—including the Table Side Caesar, only available at dinner—and sandwiches ranging from the French Dip to F75 Burger, doused in French 75’s secret sauce. Proteins reign supreme at French 75, from thick hunks of rotisserie-style Colorado leg of lamb in the Gigot D’Agneau to the Canard served with two confit duck legs accompanied by thinly sliced pieces of roasted breast served with curried lentils and butter-braised cabbage.

Gigot d’Agneau (Leg of Lamb)

What to drink

french 75

A full menu of French 75s you say?

It goes without saying that French 75s are the name of the cocktail game here. Beverage Director Adam Hodak has crafted a full lineup of French 75s, from the Traditionnelcrafted with Leopold’s small batch gin and Champagne, to the playful Peach Street with pear brandy and house-pressed Asian pear juice. Serving as one of the few elevated concepts in the area, French 75’s daily happy hour is sure to offer a needed refuge for an after-work release. Of course, the bar features the usual suspects—$5 well spirits, beers, wines, and $8 specialty cocktails—but for a deal that will really lift your spirits, guests can choose from two different varietals of bubbly for only $22.

More information and menus will shortly be online, but for now, take a gander at their Facebook page.

Photography and story by Morgan Carter, Editor

Hickory & Ash Opens in Broomfield

Denver native Kevin Taylor began his restaurant career at a young age, opening his first restaurant in Denver at the age of 25 in 1987. Since then, he has truly become a titan of the dining scene, operating Kevin Taylor Restaurant Group and opening restaurants including the acclaimed Zenith American Grill and Palettes in 1997, the first chef-driven museum concept, nestled inside the Denver Art Museum. For his newest venture, however, Kevin has given the reigns to his son, Ryan Taylor, who’s the driving force behind Hickory & Ash {8001 Arista Place, Broomfield; 720. 390.4400}.

hickory & ash

Short Rib Pastrami Brussels sprouts, mustard, and pumpernickel

Ryan, Executive Chef and partner of the concept, is no stranger to the restaurant industry. He began his restaurant career at the age of 15, carving his own path under his guise of his father’s legacy. “There was a level of intimidation when I first started as a teenager, trying to keep up with his style and level of standards, but it became a great foundation for me,” says Ryan. “Over time, I grew into my own style that is reflected at Hickory & Ash. Many people who have tasted both my food and my dad’s food can identify some differences. While the intimidation for my father’s legacy is definitely still there as far as standards and a high level of perfection, there’s a different twist to my style.”

hickory & ash

Photo courtesy of Hickory & Ash

At Hickory & Ash, Ryan is flexing his skills, introducing a meat-centric cuisine kissed by the hickory smoked grill. The 5,550-square-foot space is outfitted with rustic accouterments with cow skulls and ash tree logs, hanging over the open dining room space. Showcasing the locality of Colorado, Ryan is sourcing a number of ingredients across the state, including meat, cheese, produce, and fish, all of which is presented on a menu that’s regional and, most importantly, approachable. “My dad is known for fine dining and utilizing exotic ingredients that people aren’t familiar with,” says Ryan. “We wanted to transition to affordable, delicious food prepared in ways that are familiar but still unique to us.”

The concept truly exudes a sense of home, not just due to its casual setting but due in part to its familial connection. Not only do father and son have a hand in the concept, but Denise Taylor—Kevin Taylor’s wife—serves as restaurant co-owner. Her son Cooper Mease also acts as managing partner and can be found day in and day out inside the dining room. Truly, you can tell there is a sense of love within its walls.

What to Eat

hickory & ash

Colorado Striped Bass Veracruz with white beans, zucchini, and jalapeño pesto

H&A’s signature dishes showcase the chef’s upbringing. The deconstructed Short Rib Pastrami as well as the Shrimp Coctele, for example, is a nod to the first dish that Kevin taught Ryan to make as a child: shrimp ceviche. For fare with a hint of smoke, guests can choose from larger entrées including Hickory Grilled Salmon, Colorado Striped Bass Veracruz, and a variety of prime steak cuts (including a four-ounce filet mignon for only $18) sourcing from Local Aspen Ridge Natural Beef.

hickory & ash

Don’t leave without checking out the dessert menu. The PB&J Candy Bar crafted with raspberry, salted caramel, and dark chocolate is certainly a showstopper.

What to Drink

hickory & ash

Raspberry Paloma hits the right balance of sweet and spicy, thanks to the Cuidad blanco, fresh raspberry, and kick of Fresno chiles.

Keeping it local, the bar program at H&A features a bevy of Colorado-produced liquors and beer. A perfect summer sipper is the Limonata with vanilla bean infused Bravo Zulu gin, or for a cocktail with a kick, try the Raspberry Paloma accentuated with Fresno chiles. As for brews, H&A offers a variety of craft beers on tap including the Hickory & Ash Altbier, a custom-made brew made with local brewing partner, Wonderland Brewing.

Hickory & Ash opens this Friday, July 7 at 5-10pm. Hickory & Ash will be open daily from 5-10pm. The restaurant will add on happy hour and brunch in the near future.

Photography and story by Morgan Carter, Editor

(Posted originally at DiningOut Magazine_