Over the last year and a half, Denver’s RiNo Art District has experienced a culinary renaissance. Like moths to a flame, this newly bustling neighborhood has continually attracted the cities most innovative entrepreneurs and restauranteurs. Just on the stretch of north Larimer past Broadway, it is hard to find any restaurant sans accolades that proclaim a “best new” status (some, such as Work & Class, have even garnered major national buzz). But along side these big names, the area is attracting some smaller, lesser known companies — ones that, like their predecessors, are starting to feel the glow for themselves…
Cure All Bitters, an all-natural bitters company that originated in Mexico City, is one of these fresh faces coming to RiNo. Originally I met owners Katsumi Ruiz and Stephen Julia while scouting for an article on Denver’s secret supper clubs (they own and operate Queen City Supper Club). It was there, in the couple’s industrial RiNo loft, I tested a wide range of their uniquely crafted cocktails. Inventive pairings included everything from a spiked horchata served in an a playful ceramic cat cup to a bourbon based drink made with root beer bitters rimmed with a crushed salt and rose buds. But it wasn’t until the end of the night that I found that this couple was planning on opening a bar of their own. For the last several months we have spoken with the founders of Cure All about their upcoming projects and now 303 is happy to be the first to introduce you to this talented pair. Continue on to meet the people behind the concept and why you should be excited for their forthcoming Denver projects:
How did Cure All begin?
Ruiz: Cure All began in 2013 as a 100 percent all-natural, small batch bitters company that filled a gap in the cocktail industry in Mexico City. We were the first bitters produced and distributed in the Mexican cocktail market and we stayed in it until we moved production to Denver in March 2015.
What got you into the bitters and/or craft cocktails?
Julia: For the bitters we saw a gap that needed to be filled. The cocktail movement in Mexico City was just beginning and there were no local bitters on the market. At that time we were hoping open a bar in 2015, something that had been in our minds for the last five years. We saw Cure All Bitters as a way to get our name out in the community and create a buzz for our upcoming bar.
Why did you choose Denver to open up your bar, and more specifically why did you choose the RiNo neighborhood?
Ruiz: As time approached to open our bar in Mexico City, our other businesses in Denver were blooming and so was the craft cocktail scene. So it was really a simple decision, and one we were very excited about. As far as why RiNo, we live in the neighborhood and love what is happening around us. We also know what the neighborhood needs are. Both of our bars are developed with our neighborhood and community in mind. We are opening places we would like to drink at in our neighborhood.
“Curio will be located in the Central Market [the highly anticipated market from Jeff Osaka and Ken Wolf]… It is a place where strangers become friends; a social drinking spot.”
Can you tell us about your concepts?
Julia: We have two concepts coming to Denver: Curio and Cure All Cocktail Club.
Can you elaborate on Curio?
Ruiz: Curio will be located in the Central Market at 2669 Larimer St. [the highly anticipated market from Jeff Osaka and Ken Wolf] . Curio is a place where strangers become friends; a social drinking spot. It’s a place that has a drink for everyone, no matter how diverse and different your taste is. A community place where you can enjoy great cocktails, delivered quickly in a friendly environment. Drinkers will be able to focus on what they are there for – good conversation with a drink in hand. [For] decor [we are] not 100% sure yet; [it’ll be] inviting and simple. Some of the materials include: subway tile, marble like surfaces and wood.
How about Cure All Cocktail Club?
Julia: Cure All Cocktail Club will be located at Backyard on Blake at 3040 Blake St.. With Cure All Cocktail Club we are creating a spot for our neighbors; an intimate space perfect for catching up with friends or making new ones. At Cure All you can expect great service and exciting cocktails in a relaxed atmosphere. For anyone who loves our cocktails we are offering cocktail lockers. Our lockers offer an opportunity to try a new off the menu cocktail each month. A cocktail locker [monthly] membership includes four to five servings of the new cocktail and an invite to a monthly workshop. For decor we are taking advantage of the historic elements of the space like exposed brick, barrel roof, and a great bar as the focal point of the space.
What will you serve?
Ruiz: Curio will serve bottled cocktails with complex flavors, carbonated cocktails, non-alcoholic cocktails, beer and wine. No food, people will be able to find plenty of wonderful food at The Market… Cure All Cocktail Club will focus on craft cocktails, and we will also have some wine/beer from hyper local sources. As far was food we are thinking gourmet grilled cheese, cheese/charcuterie but nothing is set in stone yet.
When are you looking to open?
Julia: We are hoping to be opened by winter of 2015 and spring 2016.
What are you most excited for becoming a part of the Denver restaurant/bar scene?
Ruiz: We are just really excited to add to the cool places to drink in RiNo. We want to meet more neighbors and support the community growth.
Julia: RiNo feels like a community, not just a neighborhood. We are really excited to be able to contribute to the growth of the community, and to work with some great people and businesses in the neighborhood. RiNo is definitely still in early stages of developing, but we have had great people and businesses pave the way like Noah Price (Crema, Populist).