Elegant dining meets urban marketplace at The Bindery — the newest restaurant to land in LoHi.
Not to be confused with The Bindery on Blake, executive chef and owner Linda Hampsten Fox — who spent years as a private chef to high-profile clients like Dave Matthews, Nancy Pelosi and Jane Goodall — modeled the space after a European marketplace. Inside, guests can sit for a full, gourmet dinner, pop in and shop for house-made products or pick-up gourmet meals from a separate menu that are meant to be taken to-go.
With so many moving parts, the restaurant is opening piece-by-piece, with dinner available now and a coffee and pastry soft opening tomorrow. The full market will open on Wednesday with breakfast and lunch service. The to-go dinner options start next week.
To accommodate so many facets of the business, Hampsten Fox spent years looking for the proper placement for The Bindery, finally settling in the 4,000-square-foot space at the foot of the newly-constructed Centric LoHi apartment community.
The space is sleek and wide-open, with 18-foot ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows which overlook downtown. Guests enter the space through the marketplace, which surrounds the bakery and cafe, leading to the dining room. The communal dining space can seat up to 100 with an additional 20 seats at the bar and 58 seats spread out between three patios.
The restaurant features 55 free, on-site parking spaces — a true rarity in Denver these days.
The Food & Drinks
It’s hard to put The Bindery’s menu into a box, and Hampsten Fox agrees.
“I can’t describe it because I’ve put my entire life into this menu,” she explained. “The Bindery is a culmination of everything I’ve done and provides the perfect platform to share my passion for the craft of cooking sustainable, local food rooted in my personal history and heritage.”
That personal history and heritage are largely rooted in her Polish-Czech background and years spent in Italy, with a touch of Colorado intertwined. This translates to a sophisticated menu meant for sharing — which you’ll want to do, as many of the dishes are rich and decadent.
Hampsten Fox will lead the kitchen with her executive chef and kitchen manager Jake Riley, who has worked in her catering kitchen for several years.
Many of the dishes are unlike anything else, and we suggest tapping into the staff for recommendations to paint a picture for you. For example, the charred octopus agua chile negra ($19) has a sauce made from a blend of charred tortillas, habaneros and celery and lime juices, creating an earthy, yet unfamiliar flavor. There’s also a shared plate called The Secret Garden ($13) — chef’s take on a vegan charcuterie board — with pumpkin pate, beet pastrami and maple-carrot jerky.
The Rabbit Rarebit ($13) is a twist on the Welsh Rarebit — a snack of savory, melted cheese on toast — but The Bindery added smoked rabbit and pecan toast to add a depth of flavor that’s extremely comforting on a cold winter day. Other favorites were the Latin-inspired braised beef cheeks ($23) with ancho and guajillo chili, vanilla bean, corn husk oil and Parmesan grits and the Boulder hen coq au vin ($24) made with cava, button mushrooms, Brussels sprouts and salted pork.
The beverages are outside of your typical fare as well, with more herbaceous options like snap pea–infused vodka and cocktails showcasing peppers, garbanzo bean aquafaba and more. In the meantime, we’ll be waiting for breakfast service to start — we’ve got our eye on the Dutch Babies called “You’ll Never Want a Pancake Again.”
The Binder is located at 1817 Central Street, Denver. The café and bakery are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, and the restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday from 4 to 9:30 p.m., and until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Breakfast and lunch service will be added in the coming weeks.
Unless noted, all photos courtesy of The Bindery.