When chef Troy Guard’s Sugarmill opened in 2013, it brought beautiful and balanced desserts as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner to RiNo at the hands of chef and partner Noah French. After French left the restaurant and bakery last year, current chef Ryan Witcher quietly took over around February. Witcher, whose culinary pedigree includes stints at Tavern on the Green, Four Seasons Seattle and Ritz-Carlton Hotels, brings a new life to the menus as well as new, creative desserts the sweet spot is known for.
As Witcher reimagined the Sugarmill menu, he took to the neighborhood for inspiration as well as his travels and culinary experiences throughout the world. The revamped sweet and savory menus feature elevated bites and iterations of comfort food for breakfast, lunch, dinner and now, brunch.
A standout on the new menu is the pastrami hash ($17), with house-made pastrami, duck fat-fried potatoes and mustard vinaigrette, topped off with two sunny side-up eggs. The peppery pastrami is a tender and savory bite balanced with the silky yolk and crispy potatoes. Mustard vinaigrette adds that desired tang to make the dish reminiscent of a deconstructed New York-style pastrami sandwich. Bonus: The hash is available on breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch menus.
On those days when you need a taste of childhood comfort, the grilled cheese and tomato soup ($11) hits home in all the right ways. Sourdough bread is loaded with Wisconsin white cheddar, heirloom tomatoes and Applewood smoked bacon, then pressed and served with a hearty mug of tomato soup finished with basil and thyme. Spring, summer, fall or winter, this comfort food combination is the right bite any day.
Witcher’s reconstructed dessert menu brings balanced sweetness in creative ways. The Illanka chocolate crunch balances sugar, acid and crunch in a beautiful presentation. The wild Colorado cherry shortcake is an intriguing plate with lemon-black pepper Madelines, micro basil and bay leaf ganache with cherry compote. Some of those ingredients may seem out of place on a dessert menu, but Witcher transforms them to work together in the most palate pleasing of ways. Ask for some fresh cracked pepper over the dessert to really let the flavors burst.
If time for a sit-down, plated dessert isn’t in your schedule, drop in and get one of the daily inspirations from the pastry case—they still have the whimsical design and impeccable tastes as the regular menu. Witcher and the Sugarmill team have also expanded production into making cakes, so be sure to ask about them for your next special occasion.
Sugarmill may be known for its outstanding desserts, but with Witcher at the helm, it is coming into its own as a place for sweet, savory comfort.
All photography by Charles Hildreth