Foodography: Cafébar opens in Washington Park

Cafebarinterior.jpg
Lori Midson
"It was just time for a change," insists Eric Rivera, the executive chef of Cafébar, a new modern American restaurant, owned by Dane Huguley, that unlocked its doors last week in Washington Park at 295 South Pennsylvania Street. Rivera, who was the opening chef of Lala's Wine Bar + Pizzeria, an Italian restaurant that opened in 2008, says that the opportunity to extend his reach above and beyond pizza and pastas was too good to pass up.

"I'd been at Lala's for a long time, and I wanted to branch out and utilize more than just my knowledge of Italian and Mediterranean food, and this was a restaurant where I could do that," plus, he says, "there's nothing else like this -- a casual neighborhood spot with seasonal American food -- in the area."

Rivera acknowledges that Bittersweet, Olav Peterson's excellent farm-to-table restaurant, which happens to reside across the street from Cafébar, is similarly entrenched in locality -- Peterson even grows his own urban garden on the premises -- but, contends Rivera, "Bittersweet is a fine-dining restaurant that's much more high-end than we are. It's definitely upscale, and we're definitely casual with accessible pricing for just about everyone."

Nothing on the lunch, dinner, or brunch menus, he points out, is more than $18 (and most dishes are far less). "Our goal is to be that neighborhood restaurant where the staff remembers everyone's name," he adds, noting, too, that the kitchen will stay open until at least 11 p.m. every night. "This is a restaurant where you can grab a bite to eat and glass of wine late-night, and feel like there's a real sense of community."

And speaking of community, there's a twelve-seat community table, constructed from reclaimed beetle kill pine, that fronts the exhibition kitchen, along with a conversation piece bar tricked-out with steel wine and liquor racks, all designed by a local artist, and horse head purse hangers. And next spring, the patio, which has the potential to become one of the best in the neighborhood, will lay claim to its own bar behind a set of Dutch barn doors.

In the meantime, the patio, which has plenty of seating and early fall foliage, made for a lovely respite for lunch last week, where we ate ourselves silly -- and brought back the photos to prove it.

Location Info

Cafe|Bar

295 S. Pennsylvania St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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20 comments
Elwood
Elwood

Been twice. Regardless of Dave Barnes' hood issues, this place is way great. Food is super solid and Charlie the bartender is worth a return visit on his own. The owner is pretty righteous in his own right. And I know neither one of them, so suck it in advance.

Owen
Owen

davebarnes observant and thoughtful comment aside... 

Anyone else raise an eyebrow at the comment about being casual and accessibly priced getting followed up immediately with the statement that nothing on any of the menus is over $18? I'm excited to try this place, but $18? How about $10 or $12?

Guest
Guest

Is Dave Barnes the only one who gives a shit about the rules? Why do these "journalists" keep getting something as simple as boundaries wrong?Thank you elwood for having the wit to use sarcasm, unlike Booby Pinz who is obviously just and idiot, He's prattling on about someone who has no life who prattles on about nothing.  Seems like you need a life as well.  If Opus were listed as being in Englewood people would want that corrected. There is no difference here.   

Bobby Pinz
Bobby Pinz

Please, Please, davebarnes, Get a Life!! Have you nothing better to do than prattle on about nothing? How pathetic! Please leave this blog alone. You add nothing to it and, in fact, your blather tends to detract from the real message,which is all about Cafebar and how good it is.

Scott Bennett
Scott Bennett

Every Realtor® knows there are only two neighborhoods in Denver: Highlands and Wash Park. This clearly is not in Highlands, therefore it's in Wash Park.

Chuck Roast
Chuck Roast

It would be nice, davebarnes, if you got your facts right before wasting our time with your drivel. According to the West Washington Park Neighborhood Association, the boundaries are: Speer on the North, I-25 to the South, Downing on the East, and Broadway to the West. Cafebar sits within that area and therefore is a Washington Park establishment. 

Elwood
Elwood

The neighborhood error is a travesty of the highest order.  I was going to go tomorrow, but everyone knows that food tastes terrible in the Speer neighborhood so no chance now.  You almost wasted precious moments out of my life, moments better spent correcting grammar and map locations on a blog.  Shame on you. 

davebarnes
davebarnes

Not Wash Park.Speer neighborhood.Alameda is the dividing line.

Lori Midson
Lori Midson

Hey, Owen: Maybe you missed the part in my post where I wrote "...and most dishes are far less." The dinner menu includes five dishes that are priced between $10-$15; only one dish -- the pork chop -- rings in at $18.

JimRome
JimRome

Rules? It is a Denver Food Blog, and the writes are food critics not topographers.  The only rule I try to follow is to not be a complete D Bag, which Dave Barnes violates each time he posts.  

davebarnes
davebarnes

Neighborhood Associations establish their own boundaries.Neighborhoods are delineated by the City & County of Denver.

Jessehall
Jessehall

Dave, you know man, you really add nothing to these discussions I wish you would just leave this blog. 

JimRome
JimRome

Once again ladies and gentleman, Dave Barnes.  The least interesting man in the Universe.  He does not always comment on stories, but when he does, count on it being douchey. 

Holysmoke
Holysmoke

That was a Big Lebowski riff.  You don't need to be a topographer to look at a map of denver and see the lines dividng neighborhoods. I remember when Jonesy's opened and people, not sure if Lori herself, were saying it was in or bordering Five Points. It detracts from one neighborhood while unjustly giving credit to another.  Restaurants make neighborhoods desirable to live in. I want all of Denver to have that appeal. I admit it is VERY nit picky but this issue is black and white. Also if you use any derivitive of Douche Bag to describe someone you are most likely an idiot. Really, D Bag, are you 12. 

Food Enthusiast
Food Enthusiast

You are an idiot, that’s all you have to say about this great new place opening up?

whatever
whatever

Remarkably crappy of you, Lori.  How about some due diligence on the articles instead of attacking those doing it for you.

whatever
whatever

I would agree with you if it was from another commenter.  But  it IS a crappy response from the staff of this paper. Such a comment from the staff is incredibly rude and unprofessional. 

Enuffallredy
Enuffallredy

Since when is "whatever' an attack? "Whatever" is a shrug, a dismissive, certainly not an attack. And speaking of due diligence, the restaurant in question is within 10 blocks of Washington park. Certainly close enough to be considered in the 'hood. And all this blather should certainly not be directed at Lori, rather at the DB that started it. Lets move on to the next chance for lay idiocy. 

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