When Justin Morse and Amy Keil opened their new restaurant in Denver’s Cole neighborhood – a lingering pandemic wasn’t exactly what they had in mind. However, like for most of us – a much-anticipated return to normal life didn’t quite make its way into the 2020 agenda. With a fresh new start in 2021 – business owners and locals alike have found new ways to adapt to the life of restrictions and mask-mandates. Just as Morse and Keil built their restaurant from the ground up – the resilient couple found a way to tweak their business model to better serve the Cole community.
From casual French cuisine to wood-fired pizza.
Turning to their roots in craftmanship – Morse and Keil spent their Thanksgiving holiday building a wood-fired pizza oven from scratch. After realizing casual French cuisine wasn’t a sustainable option with recurring dining restrictions – they temporarily re-branded Brasserie Brixton.
“We decided to switch to pizza only when we heard a second indoor dining shutdown was coming. The food we were producing for dine in service was never intended for take-out and doesn’t carry particularly well. We also wanted to switch to a product that required us to stock much less in terms of ingredients as well as ingredients that were less perishable. Also, we felt that pizza is universally liked and we could offer it at a good price point. Unfortunately, this meant laying off all of our front of house staff as we were unable to receive any PPP funding since we opened in 2020, after the cutoff date to be eligible for any financial assistance,” explained Morse.
Just as Morse and Keil originally wanted to bring an exceptional, hospitality-based experience to Denver – (Le) Brix Pizza & Wine withstands that integrity. Sure, you can find pizza on just about every corner of the Mile High City. But is it served out of a handmade brick oven – built by the owner himself? Not to mention the level of persistence Morse and Keil instill in the carefully curated brands behind their names.
(Le) Brix offers simple, high-quality food.
In fact – (Le) Brix goes just beyond the level of standard pizza. Its newly revamped menu features an array of fresh salads, wood-fired pies, deep dish options, and dessert. And of course, it wouldn’t be a proper European meal without a selection of all-natural wines to pair with it. From ingredients as decadent as crème fraîche and Middle Eastern dukkah to the classic yet heartwarming mozzarella and pepperoni – (Le) Brix offers high-quality food through simple ingredients.
“We plan on continuing to do pizza for at least another couple months as the 25% capacity, or even 50% capacity, really doesn’t do much for us from a business standpoint. As I mentioned, we have received $0 in grant or loan funding from any level of government so at this point we are really just trying to hang out so we can get back to running a restaurant in the spirit of what Brasserie Brixton was supposed to be all about,” Morse said optimistically.
With Denver’s restaurant industry taking a harder hit than most – we can only expect to see more closings in 2021. Luckily – Denver has restaurant owners like Morse and Keil who are quick to think outside of the box. Meanwhile – setting the bar for others and staying optimistic about the future of this mid-western foodie town.
(Le) Brix Pizza & Wine is located at 3701 N Williams Street, Denver. For now they will be open Tuesday – Sunday 4 to 9 p.m. or until sold out. To view the menu or place an order – visit their website here.