Today marks the beginning of a new month and a new restaurant in Denver. After working as a chef and butcher in restaurants across the city — including Rebel Restaurant and Colt and Gray — chef Ryan Foster has opened his own sophisticated southern concept in RiNo. This is a joint project with Foster’s wife Katy — a proprietor at Stir Cooking School.

Kyle and Katie both grew up in the south, and they opened Julep to bring their “family table traditions” to the neighborhood.

“This has been a labor of love for us and we are thrilled to open Julep Restaurant to the public,” said Kyle Foster. “Our ‘family to table’ concept is an homage to my Southern roots, bringing simple, good food – and cocktails – to Denver’s culinary scene.”

The Space

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Momoko Morton of Naka Interiors — the same designer of Stir Cooking School — worked on Julep’s 3,200-square-foot space. It has touches of southern flair without being too kitschy, with a balance of warm feminine wallpaper and masculine, industrial touches around the bar.

The main dining room is accompanied by an outdoor patio on Larimer Street and a balcony. If you can, request the table in the back of the balcony, it’s situated by a window that looks down into the kitchen.

The Food & Drinks

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If sophisticated is unfamiliar to you, it will become apparent after one trip to Julep. The menu is ever-changing and largely dictated by sourcing, but the soul of it remains the same.

“Julep’s menu honors the traditions I learned from my mother, who was born in Savannah, Georgia, and my great-grandfather, a Kentuckian,” Foster explained. “We use his techniques, recipes and stories to keep the family traditions alive and these same traditions serve as the inspiration behind Julep.”

Julep has three distinct menus — for lunch, brunch and dinner. For dinner, you’ll find dishes mostly small plates meant for sharing, like pork and oyster sausage ($18) with hopped celery and malted barley that is reminiscent of baked beans or a juniper- and rosemary-rubbed lamb ($25)  served with creamed hominy and a mustard green chow chow. The menu also has limited availability of “Family-Style Suppers” that serve two to four. Currently, you can choose between a Duroc pork chop ($42) with pear and apple butter or a cross-cut lamb saddle ($54) — both served with seasonal sides. The dish that perfectly represents the sophistication infusion into the southern-style menu are the Deviled Snails ($16), marinated in a Worcestershire-heavy sauce, a bed of creamy grits and a saltine cracker salad for garnish. Trust us — you don’t know pure gluttonous joy until you’ve dipped a saltine into grits, and the snails let you feel fancy while doing it.

But, no matter the time of day, don’t miss those creamy, perfectly cooked Anson Mill grits. 

To wash it all down, don’t miss Julep’s cocktail menu, which has classics like a mint julep on crushed ice ($12) all the way to house favorites (and our favorite) like the Uptown Sour ($15) with Elijah Craig bourbon, Cointreau, lemon and egg white. The dessert shouldn’t be skimped on either with offerings like a banana cream pie pudding, a sweet potato crème brulee and a pineapple upside down cake with pink peppercorn ice cream.

Most notable, though, is the hospitality that extends beyond the dining room. It’s evident on the menu, which, in a true family fashion, lists the names of the full back-of-house team, not just Foster’s.

Julep is located at 3258 Larimer Street, Denver. It is open Tuesday 5 – 10 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and 5 – 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. and 5 – 11 p.m. and Sunday at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Unless noted, all photos by Adam Larkey Photography.