It could come as something of a surprise that the kind of cuisine Redgarden is serving is to be found in the center of the Colorado Tech Center in Louisville. The new brewery and restaurant — which celebrated its first anniversary in June — is an outlier gem, drawing the kind of talent that may seem strange for a space conspicuously positioned independently from the state’s more obvious hotspots.
Owner Greg Larson, his son and brewer Derek Larson and chef Mason Browning have managed to concoct the kind of establishment that has all the comfort of a neighborhood bar and an approachable menu, but further investigation will reveal a cuisine well beyond the realm of simple bar snacks. The place is stylish but not ostentatious with inviting staff and plenty of parking. Located two miles from downtown, the place manages to appear peripheral while still being uniquely central.
The food is handled by Browning — whose stints at Boulder locales Salt, Wild Standard and Shine came by a stroke of miraculous luck during a visit to the town that would eventually become the hotbed of his developing career. Browning — a cookbook aficionado — visited Pearl Street’s temple to all things home-goods Peppercorn on a visit with his mother, purchasing several nicely bound volumes. On his way up the mall, he was approached by a “spandex-clad man” who wound up being Bradford Heap — the owner of Salt — at which Browning already had a reservation the following night. The owner was impressed by the chef’s choice of texts, striking up a conversation that would prove instrumental. The two chatted the following night at dinner and the serendipitous affair resulted in Heap offering Browning an internship. “I was living in Boulder three weeks later,” mused the chef.
“Are we a restaurant that makes beer or a brewery that sells food?” is a question often tossed around the place. Whether intentionally or not Redgarden defies definition — serving thoughtful cuisine befitting white table cloths in a cozy environment with the kind of beer that is excellent despite decidedly lacking in flamboyance. Everything about the place is a wolf in sheep’s clothing — an ode to no-frills virtuosity.
The green chili schnitzel ($9) is a colossal breaded pork cutlet served atop pan-seared potatoes. The dish — much like the rest of the menu — is a reminder that the fryer need not be reserved for diners and chains. The duck fat fries ($6/$11) continue in this vein. Browning’s food is unpretentious, but the unyielding commitment to quality ingredients reveals his intuitive knowledge of the product chain. Prior to the chef’s relocation, he grew up in Monroe City — a small farm town in northeast Missouri. The Korean pork curry ($9/$18) — made with homemade kimchi — is one of many items that spice up the assorted menu.
Derek Larson’s beer is not fussy. The brewer — who has been perfecting the craft at home for over a decade — makes a roster of classic styles. In a time where flash reigns supreme, the beers shine in due to Derek’s attention to detail. No hop-bombs or fruited sours — just expert takes on a range of enjoyable styles. Eleven of the 12 available taps are currently filled with brews that include a Mexican lager, and oat stout and an unmissable Belgian tripel.
Plenty of Colorado cuisine thrives comfortably outside the city centers. Redgarden is yet another addition to the growing list of locations worth driving for.
Redgarden is located at 1700 Dogwood St., Louisville. It is open Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
All photography by Lauren Magin.
Editor’s note: the article was updated to reflect the restaurant is in Louisville not Lafayette. We regret the error.