Justin Brunson will open Old Major -- a swine, wine and seafood restaurant -- in Highland

OldMajor.jpg
Lori Midson
Justin Brunson will open Old Major at 3316 Tejon Street, across the pavement from the former Squeaky Bean.
Two years ago -- long before all that crazy drama at Wild Catch -- Justin Brunson, the owner and chef of Masterpiece Deli, was all set to open Lechon at 17th and Central streets with Ben Parsons, who owns the Infinite Monkey Theorem.

The deal eventually fell apart, but Brunson, despite a short stay at Wild Catch that resulted in his abrupt departure, never stopped looking for a space to open a swine-centric food temple, and after nearly three years of searching, he just inked a deal on a space at 3316 Tejon Street, directly across the pavement from the old Squeaky Bean (which will re-sprout downtown in June), which he's calling Old Major, after the boar in George Orwell's Animal Farm.

"I actually started looking for a space three years ago, and I'm pretty sure I looked at just about every space in Denver, but I either couldn't afford them or they just weren't right for what we wanted to do, but this space -- this space is exactly what I was looking for," says Brunson, who partnered with several investors, including Parsons and Juan Pedro and Katie O'Shea, who own Highland Tap & Burger, to make Old Major come to fruition. "It's been three years in the making, and I'm really excited for this project, and it's awesome that I finally have a great group of human beings to support what I want to do."

And what Brunson has planned is a swine-and-seafood-centric bistro. "I have a chubby for the pig, and we're going to focus on Heritage-breed meats, but it's going to be super-seafood-y, too." His fish, he stresses, will be as "sustainable as possible," and the animals, he insists, will be "properly raised and humanely slaughtered."

OldMajorbrunson.jpg
Lori Midson
Once the site of a roller rink, the 3,000-square-foot quarters, which have been vacant for decades, will boast garage doors, a barrel ceiling, exposed brick walls, an 800-square-foot open kitchen and an in-house curing program that Brunson says will be front and center in the dining room. "Everyone should be curing their own meats -- it's not that difficult -- and we're ready to work with the health department to do it right. I have nothing to hide, and I want a curing room that's visible to the public," he adds.

Brunson notes that he'll open Old Major with a tidy menu -- six appetizers, three salads, six entrees and five desserts. "As we get more comfortable, we'll see where we can take the menu, but to start with, it'll be a small board with lots of pork and lots of seafood," explains Brunson, who notes, too, that his entire team of "main players" from Wild Catch, including Jonathan Greschler, who's currently behind the bar at Fuel, will join him. "Jonathan will be our GM, and Galen Kennemer, who's been with me for years, will be our chef de cuisine."

In addition, says Brunson, who hopes to open in November, Old Major will parade an "awesome cocktail program," along with tap wines from Infinite Monkey Theorem. "Ben will be making a house red and house white for us, which we're really excited about," reveals Brunson. When he unleashes the space, he'll be open seven nights a week for dinner, and eventually Brunson will add a bar menu, happy-hour specials five nights a week, brunch, and, last but not least, lunch.

"I think this is a restaurant that's going to be great for Highland," Brunson predicts. "This is where my career really took off, and I think there's a need for high-end bistro fare up here. It's been a long time coming, and the space is nothing short of awesome."

Location Info

Old Major

3316 Tejon St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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12 comments
Bolex16
Bolex16

Godspeed Bronson, Godspeed...

Violet
Violet

Beware...I hear that even though he claims to serve sustainable seafood products, that is not always the accurate story. No problem if you are serving fish that is not sustainably harvested, but BIG problem if you are not serving it while claiming to do so.

BSquared
BSquared

Cant wait for this. Nice to have Brunson back in business

Antimonkey
Antimonkey

All good except for the Monkey Theorem wines.  How does this guy keep getting this swill into places.  Had to drink some at Right Coast Pizza the other night as it was the only option.  Flavored water.

Philo99
Philo99

"Everyone should be curing their own meats -- it's not that difficult -- "

That statement strikes me as someone that doesn't know what they're doing. In parts of Italy you are required to have 6 years of hands on training before you are certified to cure pork products.

Please make sure you get someone with the proper training to do it right. Curing raw pork is not something you can do half assed.

Number Three
Number Three

I've gone limp for the Highlands.... pretty damn excited about this though. DO IT!!!

D-Hause
D-Hause

Congrats Justin!  Keep the pig chubby in your pants!

David
David

"I have a chubby for the pig".  Best. Quote.  Ever

Bolex16
Bolex16

oh wait...Brunson, I meant Brunson!!...damn it!...charles was way coolerl anyway...lol...

BSquared
BSquared

I didn't read that as the process was not difficult. I read it as all restaurants should buy pre-cured meat and instead have an in-house process to do it, the right way.I dont think Justin expects the home cook to have a cure their own meat in the kitchen pantry,.

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