What: Avanti Food + Beverage, A Collective Eatery. (Opening Early 2015)

Where: 3200 Pecos Street, Denver CO 80211

Pro:  By allowing local chefs and restauranteurs experiment with lowered risks, this first-of-its-kind project could potentially lead to a renaissance of  Denver’s restaurant scene. It might even bring in international talent and really put Denver on the map as a culinary capital. 

Avanti, Avanti Denver, Denver Restaurant food courtCon: If not curated correctly, the space could start to feel like a  food court. The design of the space as well as the  participants will be incredibly important in order to keep the project elevated and focused. 

UPDATE, December 18, 2014: This week Avanti released the first five tenants that will occupy this new restaurant incubator. The list comes from an exclusive release from 5280.com. The tenants includes local and international concepts as well as 10 taps from Dogfish brewery at it’s two bars inside the space. The restaurant concepts are  the following: 1.Souk Shawarma Who: John Robbins at Bistro Barbes; What:  “Lebanese-inspired shawarma shop”  
2. PoCo Tortaria Who:  Kevin Morrison of Pinche TacosWhat: a Mexican Torta concept 
3. Quiero ArepaWho: Igor and Beckie Panasewicz, owners of Quiero Arepas Food Truck; What: Venezuelan “sandwiches” known as arepas 
4. Brava! Who: David Bravdica of Brava!, a pizza joint located at Lannie’s Clocktower; What: wood fire pizzas  
5. Bixo, Mediterranean Bites Who: Marco Gonzales, known for his work in Barcelona at a “Michelin Star-restaurant experience in Lyon and Barcelona,” as reported by 5280; What: Tapas 

 Read on to learn more:

Restaurants are like fragile creatures. With a high failure rate (60% of them don’t last a full year, whereas 80% don’t pass the five year mark), these establishments need a lot of dedication and care to survive. Nursing a restaurant to adulthood often takes a massive team of driven chefs, talented cooks, savvy PR teams and knowledgable waiters to bring the concept to full term. Even then there is a lot of risk and chance involved in its success. From construction delays to bad yelp reviews, just one unfortunate circumstance can bring a place to its knees. So when veteran developers Brad Arguello, Patrick O’Neill and Rob Hahn came up with the idea to create a program that provides an “incubation” period for these budding culinary concepts, it seemed practically ingenious…

Avanti Food + Beverage,  this “restaurant incubator” will nourish fledgling projects by providing small, rented test kitchens in a shared space that is open to the public. This “collective eatery” will host up to 8 concepts, with each project receiving a fully equipped, state of the art kitchen encompassed in a singular shipping container. Here restauranteurs, chefs, food truck owners etc. will have the chance to battle it out for the crowd’s attention during their short term lease (currently 1 year maximum).

“The goal is to create a culinary think tank, where chefs can work with their peers and the public to really dial in their concept” explained O’Neil “It’s like a [co-working space] for chefs”

Avanti, Avanti Denver,Brad Arguello, Patrick O’Neill

Co- founders Patrick O’Neill and Brad Arguello on the roof top space of Avanti. Photo by Jackie Collins.

But the concept isn’t just meant to benefit their creators. Rather, Avanti aims to be a fully immersive experience for diners. Here patrons are encouraged to have an interactive meal with communal seating, similar to a school lunchroom. The two-storied space will also host a lounge and a bar that will develop various beverage programs. Upstairs will have a rooftop view that boasts the “best unobstructed view of Denver” that overlooks Coors field and the Denver skyline. They even suggested putting up stadium seats for people to watch the game from afar…

Avanti, Avanti Denver, Denver Restaurant food court

Avanti Rooftop. Images courtesy of Groundfloor Media.

With this heavy attention towards diner interaction, it seems the idea of communal eating is much more literal.  The dining experience for both patrons and vendors is now transformed by physically removing barriers and general restaurant constructs.  Now everyone will be encouraged to flow in and out of the space, developing and creating their own unique impressions. And although the idea isn’t completely new– food courts, namely — the idea of funneling the concept through a chef community brings in whole new breath of fresh air. And Denver, known for its impressive restauranteurs and young, eclectic talent, is the perfect place for something like this to succeed. However, like all innovations, unforeseen problems can arise with out easy resolution. It’s possible that Avanti might negate the problems of opening restaurants for their vendors to only assume the responsibilities for themselves. Hopefully the odds of opening 8 restaurants at once won’t bear too much burden, as this project has a massive amount of potential not only for its own success but the development of the Denver dining scene. Just imagining what exciting projects, attention and talent it might draw to Denver is worth the unbridled optimism and boundless daydreaming. For us, 2015 couldn’t come soon enough.

We will keep you updated as this project develops, so make sure to check back here for updates on Avanti Food + Beverage, A Collective Eatery. (Opening Early 2015)


One Response

  1. Michael Olson

    This is a great idea. We were in Lisbon Portugal recently and came across the River Market (Mercado da Ribeira) so were excited to see the local produce. We were at first surprised that 2/3 of the building was dedicated to a grouping of restaurants, like a high end food court. The magazine "Time Out" was involved somehow in branding and the food quality was very good plus there was a shared program of real glass, cutlery and tableware. Small plates, top chefs, best products showcasing both new and old concepts, I thought of it as I read about the Avanti space. Afterwards I thought about the need to connect with fresh local produce but it seems that people are not as willing or able to actually cook the food at home so it made sense to have it prepared in the market setting – interesting comment on just how things are these days. Lots of experts but not a lot of expertise.


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