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Chef Hosea Rosenberg

What: Blackbelly Market

Where: 1606 Conestoga St. #3, Boulder, CO 

When: Opens daily at 4:00 p.m., happy hour daily from 4 p.m.- 6 p.m., grab & go breakfast from 7 a.m.-10 a.m on Monday- Friday

Pro: Chef Hosea Rosenberg outdoes himself with a menu packed with delectable animal proteins highlighted with a diverse selection of fresh and local ingredients. Pro tip: Make sure to check out the daily happy hour featuring a rotating menu of different fried bites, oysters and charcuterie (which will soon be cured in-house).

Con: With a meat-centric menu, many of the dishes can be on the heavier side. Come prepared to leave with a full belly but maybe let your vegan friends stay at home.

“Last week “Top Chef” winner Hosea Rosenberg, formerly of Jax Fish House, opened Blackbelly Market in East Boulder. Project Blackbelly began as a catering company and food truck but has successfully snowballed into a brick-and-motar location that is part-deli and part-restaurant. Rosenberg and Blackbelly both garnered a lot of attention throughout the construction of the restaurant which ultimately deemed it one of the most anticipated (if not the most anticipated) opening of the year. So why all the hype? 303 Magazine previewed the menu just days before opening and we can say there’s a lot to be excited about…

“Everything on the menu has a story.  Every ingredient we work with comes from somewhere very intentional.”

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Pork belly & prawns made with smoked cheddar grits, greens and pepper jelly.

“Everything on the menu has a story. Every ingredient we work with comes from somewhere very intentional,” explained Rosenberg while he plated his soon to be famous Prawns & Pork Belly. He explained the grits in the dish are one of the only ingredients not from a local purveyor. “They come from Mississippi from a woman called Georgeanne Ross… She literally grinds them puts them on a FedEx truck overnight to us… they are the best grits.”

But besides this one dish, every plate is a cornucopia of local ingredients. Blackbelly even has its own farm from which most of the meats come from. This includes chickens, ducks, rabbits, sheep and five different types of pigs — the name of restaurant is actually an homage to a type of sheep. The farm doesn’t just raise livestock though. Blackbelly claims to have 50 kinds of produce including radishes, cucumbers, beets and fennel, most of which is featured in-house. Outside of this operation, Rosenberg also works with many local farmers like Isabelle Farms in order to ensure every ingredient is the highest quality. The result is a completely GMO free menu– even down to the syrups in the soda gun. This dedication to quality, however, takes a lot of time, dedication and of course coordination. But Rosenberg believes it’s more than worth it.

“As a chef you are only as good as the last plate of food you put out.”

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Half ‘Boulder’ local chicken topped with an herbed compound butter and crispy frites

“As a chef you are only as good as the last plate of food you put out. It’s a lot easier to just call up Cisco and order everything. They can do it all in one delivery and one stop…but we are very proud of what we do,” explained Rosenberg.

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Original Old Fashioned Cocktail

This attention and drive for quality appears to have paid off at Blackbelly because everything from the daily fried bite to the Skuna Bay King Salmon were exploding with flavor and richness. Take the Boulder Half Chicken for example. This simple meal consists of  a fresh, never frozen chicken that is roasted in a rotisserie oven with nothing but salt, pepper and lemon zest on the skin. The result is a crispy, golden brown bird that will make your mouth water the second you lay eyes on it. It definitely embodies the concept of “food porn” (as the image above perfectly portrays). Diners should come to Blackbelly with the intention to indulge, specifically in their carnivorous side.

“We are clearly not going for the vegans and vegetarian in this space” admitted Rosenberg. However Blackbelly does offer several salads and delicious vegetarian options if you must bring your meat-free friends, but be forewarned even the most die-hard vegetarian might end up with order envy.

Aside from the restaurant, the bar is also an exciting and dynamic spot to post up. Operated by Michael Cerretani, formerly of Session Kitchen, this area focuses on the classics and does them superbly. The Original Old Fashioned made with Jenever (a juniper spirit that is similar to Gin) instead of Bourbon is actually a take on a traditional old fashioned, drawing from the origins of the drink rather than its well known American renditions. The result is a balanced and incredibly addictive cocktail that will leave you wanting more. Cerretani explained that his goal was to have a very focused cocktail menu coupled with an approachable wine list.

“It takes the intimidation out of it. You don’t go to restaurants to be scared. You come to be comforted,” said Cerretani.

And comforted is exactly what you’ll feel at Blackbelly. With the friendly faces of  Rosenberg and Cerretani coupled with the amazing food and drinks, you’ll want to make this place your new home. Make sure to stop by and reserve a seat at the bar or chef’s counter and chat up the experts on the line. Also starting this week you can come in the morning and grab breakfast sandwiches that feature bread from Boulder’s very own Grateful Breads, a well loved and highly respected bakery. But anyway you decide to enjoy this new restaurant/deli we’re sure you’ll leave satisfied.

Photography by Roman Tafoya