Cherry Creek is home to gRind — a prohibition themed gem situated six feet beneath the sidewalk on the corner of Fillmore and 3rd Street. This speakeasy and restaurant showcases southern new-American cuisine brought to you by Chef Preston Phillips, who is known for his work at 24 Carrot Bistro in Erie, Colorado. The Alabama native opened gRind Kitchen + Watering Hole in March of 2016 and has since put his own unique southern spin on northern Cherry Creek flavor.
Small Plates + Salads
The appetizer to have is the fried cauliflower ($10). The vegetable is cooked to a beautiful crunch and comes accompanied by a sweet and tangy octo sauce — an Asian style eight-ingredient sesame sauce. The plate is topped with pickled radishes, cucumbers and red onions to add a raw crispness and acidity, which balances out the zippy sweet sauce nicely.
Follow your appetizer with a crispy polenta and roasted tomato salad ($14) — a unique and unquestionably beautiful variation of a timeless southern favorite. The polenta is cubed and fried to crisp yet smooth perfection. The creamy milled-corn is accompanied by tangy whipped chevre goat cheese that adds a delightful sharp puckering quality to the veggies on the plate. The roasted heirloom cherry tomatoes are drizzled in leek oil and balsamic vinaigrette — their vibrant yellows and reds pop right off the plate.
The beverage to quench your thirst is the Barracuda ($10) — a sweet and floral bouquet of St. Germain, apple simple syrup, Spring 44 Gin, dry vermouth and lemon juice. I am not usually one for a sweet drink, but this cocktail really has it all. The apple and lemon juice add a nice sweet tanginess to the bitter undertone the St. Germain and Spring 44. The cocktail is garnished with ground nutmeg, an orange twist and a giant rock of ice — a classic look for a modern cocktail.
The Heavy Hitters
The winning choice “between the bun” is the double cheeseburger ($15). This American classic is strategically designed — two individual quarter-pound patties is Phillips’ secret. Rather than having one thick burger, two patties gives the cook twice as much surface area to season, and results in a significant gain in flavor. The sandwich is dressed with American cheese and a special sauce — it’s exceptional.
The entrée side of the lunch menu offers Boulder Natural fried chicken (four pieces for $24 dinner, $20 for lunch) which is rumored to be some of the best fried chicken in Denver. The mix of dark and white meat chicken is brined in buttermilk and seasoned with dredge spices to produce a final product that is golden brown and beautiful. The plate comes accompanied by “taters n’ gravy” and cowboy beans. This bird is a heavy hitter — tender and succulent around the bone and a crisp golden brown on the exterior. Eating this fried chicken is like taking a pledge of allegiance to southern food.
gRind Kitchen + Watering Hole, 300 Fillmore St., Denver
All Photography by Danielle Webster.