Chef Chris Cina ousted from Hideaway Steakhouse

Thumbnail image for chriscina2.jpg
Lori Midson
After six months helming the kitchen of Hideaway Steakhouse, Chris Cina is gone.
"Hideaway Steakhouse brings on new Executive Chef, Todd Adkins, who has cooked for President Clinton and J Lo and has studied in Paris!" exclaimed the press release that landed in my inbox last week from Hideaway Steakhouse, the Westminster shrine to steer that opened in late March with Chris Cina, a long-time Denver chef, at the helm.

The headline cracked me up. The fact that the release made no mention of Cina made me wonder.

Turns out that Cina, who has cooked in illustrious kitchens throughout Colorado, had been stripped of his whites. "In a nutshell, we just saw things differently," says Cina, who was let go on September 7, following a grueling stint at the Taste of Colorado. "I didn't feel like I was being given the tools I needed to do the job to the best of my ability," he adds.

And by tools, Cina claims that owners Steve and Terrie Woodward refused to divulge the restaurant's financials, among other things. "They wouldn't share any of the financial stuff with me, which I needed to manage the business," explains Cina. And that -- coupled with a breakdown in communication -- frustrated him. "Communication on both sides began to decline, and when the GM, who is a friend of mine, quit in August, I knew that it was only a matter of time before I was replaced," he says.

Cina insists, too, that while the first nine months with the Woodwards -- the time they spent building the restaurant and the first two months Hideaway was open -- were perfectly pleasant, things started going downhill when Cina played, he says, "devil's advocate." The Woodwards, he points out, are not restaurateurs. "They're not restaurant people, and while they are the owners, and they can certainly do things their own way, they just kept saying 'no' to me at every turn -- they no longer wanted my input."

And while Cina admits that he knew he'd likely be let go, he stayed the course. "I didn't want to just quit, because it wasn't the right thing to do, plus I have a family," he notes. Still, he says, when the gantlet came down, and he was summoned into a meeting where the Woodwards announced he'd been replaced, he breathed a sigh of relief. "It wasn't working for them, and it wasn't working for me either," he confesses.

"Here's the thing: I really like the Woodwards, and they're very nice people," but, Cina cautions "they have a long way to go, and they're in over their heads." And he also has this advice: "I really hope that they give the new team more leeway."

In the meantime, Cina is searching for a new exec chef job. "I'm definitely looking, and I'm talking to people, but it's a horrible time right now to be job hunting," he says. "There just aren't a lot of opportunities out there."

As for Adkins, who's done time in the kitchens at Strings and Washington Park Grill, where he was the exec chef, he's currently designing a new menu. And in a rather peculiar move, Hideaway is closing on Sunday -- a day that it's normally open -- to prepare for the launch of that menu. "We will be open again on Monday, October 24th and are very excited to be debuting the new menu - we look forward to sharing it with all of you! Sorry for the inconvenience," reads a note from the steakhouse.



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10 comments
John
John

All of the previous comments are fairly entertaining.  All I see is an article about a chef who didn't work out at this position and the author clearly presents the feeling that he is upset about it.  People on here are attempting to validate a speculative claim on the part of a former employee without realizing that there is always more than one side to every story. 

You have to see, by researching the author of this article, that Lori has followed Cina exclusively for a while now.  I can only imagine that she was not thrilled when finding out he was no longer employed at Hideaway.  Her apparent lack of professional journalism reflects upon that with the bias seen in this story...

I get the sense by seeing people claim "mixed" reviews that they don't even look at other websites such as Yelp or Open Table.  It would be foolhardy to think that the restaurants of similar design don't have bad reviews mixed in as well.  The ratings show a pretty good venture and, while not perfect (no one is), at least positive enough to warrant good reviews.  Open Table has them at a 4.2 / 5 overall score... hardly something to warrant anyone thinking that there are as many bad reviews as good ones.

I have been to Hideaway when Cina was working there and the food was very good.  The chef came out to the bar towards the end of the evening and was very pleasant.  During the meal, I also met the Woodwards and they too were very nice.  There's no reason to think that the owners will accept anything less from their new chef.

I wish Cina the best in this tough economy and look forward to finding out where he ends up next.

jeejeeallin
jeejeeallin

 "Lori has followed Cina exclusively for a while now." How many articles has Lori written in the last year and how many of those articles mention this dude. FAIL

Dave
Dave

When's the auction? 

Jon S
Jon S

From what I've heard, apparently the staff feels like the Hideaway is a bit of a sinking ship after this move. I do think the location works against it. Or at least it works against a chef that wants to do anything except the most standard, mundane steak and potatoes fare.

Egotastic
Egotastic

The sad part is that without Chef Cina that place would have never even made it this far. Hideaway is on its way out fast unless said "owners" start taking the "silent partner" position and let the people in the industry do what they do best.

dancin
dancin

Out of the way expensive restaurant in the suburbs offering nothing different or special than what you can get in Denver for about the same price Run by non restaurant peopleMixed reviews giving impression of inconsistent service and foodReplacing chef within months of openingChances of surviving another year....

Seriously why would anyone drop that kind of money here when you can do the same downtown and know you'll get an excellent meal and service.

Mantonat
Mantonat

Because a lot of people still live "out of the way." Surprisingly, people do live in all those beige houses and they may not want to drive for 40 minutes in traffic to have dinner.

dancin
dancin

I live in the suburbs less than 10 minutes from it. For the money they're charging and the inconsistent results, it's worth the 20-30 minute drive to either Boulder or Denver for a much better meal at the same price. A high end place that close to better competitors needs to offer something unique to survive or at least be consistently good. They have neither.

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