Move aside newbies, because some of Denver’s heaviest hitters are looking to get into the new restaurant game. From a 30-year-old institution to a semi-finalist for the James Beard award for “Outstanding Restaurant,” and a hip Highlands eatery that always has a wait, some of the most popular and prestigious eateries are plotting new concepts. Read on and see which one tickles your fancy.
Where: 1501 S. Pearl St., Denver
When: Fall 2015
The Low Down: Closed 3 years ago, OTOTO, the sibling restaurant to Sushi Den and Izakaya Den, will re-open with a revised concept later this fall. As reported by The Denver Post, the new menu was inspired by a recent trip to Japan by owner Toshi Kizaki. The cuisine will center around a charcoal grill called “robata,” which is a traditional cooking style found in northern Japan. There will also be a raw bar with a rotating selection, featuring a different catch of the day. OTOTO is located directly across the street from Sushi Den and Izakaya Den, and will be the third concept from the Kizakis to occupy the block.
Where: 3500 Larimer St., Denver
When: Fall 2015
The Low Down: Uncle, the popular Highlands Asian-fusion restaurant, will open a second concept in RiNo. Similar to Uncle, it will have an Asian focus but will center more around Chinese cuisine with an emphasis on wood-fired grills and wok burners, according to Eater Denver. The space will seat 48 with a nine-person bar and will offer a full beverage program of wine, beer and spirits. Its website alludes that the space will have an energetic and playful vibe, as it explains it has an affinity for “hip hop, paper napkins, pretty ice cubes, sharing, simplicity and irony.” The name “Hop Alley,” however has a more serious side, as it references the moniker for the former Chinatown in Denver, located in the now Ballpark neighborhood of Denver between 19th and 22nd on Market Street. The restaurant is expected to open this fall.
Frasca’s “Yet-to-be-Named” Restaurant
Where: 16th Street between Wewatta and Wynkoop Streets
When: December 2016
The Low Down: Frasca Food & Wine co-owners, Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Mackinnon Patterson, will open a restaurant near Union Station late next year. The project, which is currently unnamed, comes in conjuncture with the adjacent Kimpton hotel. The 125-seat restaurant will, however, be a stand alone concept and will not serve food to the hotel, although the project is jointly possessed with the hotel owners, Continuum subsidiary. It will offer lunch and dinner with a focus on a seasonal menu in a space denoted by its open kitchen and an outdoor patio. This will be Frasca’s first venture to Denver, outside of the fast-casual rendition of Pizzeria Locale. The project is highly anticipated as Frasca has been nationally recognized by the James Beard Foundation as a semi-finalist for “Outstanding Restaurant” in 2015 and winner of “Outstanding Wine Service” in 2013.