Sometimes a restaurant has something special. Old Major has that something. Old Major is named after the philosopher-of-change boar who led the revolution in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. The restaurant just opened in Denver’s popular LoHi neighborhood.
Old Major defines cool everywhere you look, from the re-purposed tractor air filter light fixtures to the Chuck Taylor’s that all of the servers are sporting on their feet. Old Major’s 3,000 square feet of space was formerly a roller rink, and has been transformed into a rustic farmhouse kitchen. The space houses 142 seats including outdoor seating and private dining space as well as a chef’s table within the kitchen. I can talk about the perfect restaurant space all day long, but let me talk about what is the star of that restaurant. The food. They had me at their slogan, seafood, swine and wine.
Justin Brunson is the Executive Chef and has created a diverse menu with contemporary farmhouse cuisine using only the freshest ingredients. Old Major is purchasing pork and beef directly from farmers to ensure the highest quality products and to give back to the local farming and agricultural community. Brunson will be working with several local ranchers to source his meats and will be using sustainable seafood from Foods in Season in Oregon as well as Seattle Fish Co. based in Denver. Old Major has also built an extensive vegetable garden located at the Infinite Monkey Theorem winery. The herbs and vegetables grown in the 2,700 square foot farm will be used in the restaurant throughout the year. Fresh and local.
Start your meal with Black Truffle and Pistachio Sausage with potato puree and escargot vinaigrette to share with your table, or opt for something lighter and order The Smoked Fish Plate with trout,sturgeon rillettes, smoked mussels, pickled vegetables, swedish mustard, and grilled bread. The Pan-Seared Pork Chop with parsnip puree, brussels sprouts, guanciale, pork demi was pork perfection. This is white table cloth food, without the white table cloth.
If you prefer something that swims, the Pan Roasted Colorado Striped Bass with lemon risotto, braised leeks, roasted baby turnips and beets was outrageously good. Duck fat french fries were crispy and packed with flavor, and the braised mustard greens felt like my grandmother’s table, but on a whole new level of flavor. Nadine Donovan, the extremely talented pastry chef begins your meal with pretzel rolls served with mustard butter. And the dessert menu is hand crafted and beautiful. Candied bacon anyone?
The Old Major beverage program will feature an eclectic selection of wines, beers and spirits as well as unique cocktail creations. The wine, beer, and spirit list comes to your table on an iPad. How cool is that? The bar’s focal points are brown whiskey, specifically Rye and Amaro-based cocktails. I love that they have such a detailed focus! The beer program includes a very diverse list offering several local selections. The wine program is international and local, featuring bottles from all over the world and wines on-tap, made exclusively for Old Major by Ben Parsons of Infinite Monkey Therorem. The restaurant looks to certify the whole staff to become Cicerone’s as well as Sommeliers through the Court of Sommeliers. So expect nothing but exceptional service and beverage recommendations to accompany your food!
I loved everything about this new restaurant. It’s hip, it’s fresh, and the food means business. The staff exudes an excitement and confidence that is contagious.
Old Major is open for dinner seven nights a week. The restaurant strongly encourages reservations and features a nightly happy hour and plans to open for brunch and lunch by summer 2013.
Old Major is going to be a household name in Denver, and it deserves nothing less.
Old Major is located at 3316 Tejon Street in Denver. (720)420-0622. @OldMajorDenver
Photos by David Donovan.