Exclusive first look: Tom's Urban 24 opens on Halloween
The goal, he adds, "is to bring everyday, affordable food and a level of casualness to Larimer Square." And, of course, to feed people morning, noon and night. "We're doing everything from a whole line of Boulder-based granola and yogurts and housemade pop tarts to a full line of signature salads to urban pizzas" -- pizzas, says Ryan, that are anything but typical. "These have a whole different shape to what most people have seen; they're long, narrow, substantive and Neapolitan in style."
Breakfast will be served from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. during the week, noon on weekends; the lunch menu, a spread of mix-and-match tacos, sandwiches, pho, huge burgers and salads, will be available until 4 p.m.; and dinner, he notes, trumpets snacks, appetizers, small plates and entrees, including a braise of the day. "We'll always feature a daily braise -- slow-cooked lamb, beef or pork," says Ryan. And from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., the kitchen will feature what Ryan calls the "best of all our menu items."
The bar program, spearheaded by Ken Kodys, one of Denver's top bartenders (he just waltzed away with his third 42Below Cocktail World Cup title), is every bit as eclectic as Ryan's menus. "He brings a ton of mixology talent to the table, and he's been collaborating with our team on making some really amazing cocktails -- a tomatillo version of a bloody Mary, for example," reveals Ryan, adding that several of Kodys's cocktails will sell for a mere $6. The bar will also feature twelve beers on tap, most of which are local craft beers, as well as bottles, cans and bombers, plus wines, all of which are available by the glass.
In addition, the restaurant will boast a take-away option from a separate side entrance, aptly named the Side Door. "As we looked at the space, we noticed an interesting hallway that runs along the perimeter of 15th Street, and we've made that into a to-go aspect of the restaurant," says Ryan. "You'll be able to get everything from our daily doughnuts to hot oatmeal to breakfast burritos, and everything is packaged to go -- it's all food that's designed to to be eaten while you're walking down the street."
Ryan's project is an ambitious undertaking, but the innovator and entrepreneur, who clearly knows a thing or ten about successful restaurant concepts (by the end of the year, he'll have opened 200 Smashburgers across the country), is confident that his namesake restaurant is exactly what Larimer Square needs. "We're serving great food and drinks that won't break the bank, and when we first stood in front of this space, we knew it was the right location. Given the number of people down here, it makes perfect sense," he says. And given his track record, he may do more. "Stay tuned," teases Ryan. "If it does well, the plan is to to see how it might play out in different cities."
Tom's will do a series of private parties prior to its opening on Halloween, but I got a first look at the space, the photos of which are on the following pages. And later this week, I'll have a food-porn post that will take you through the menus.