Bryan Dayton and Steve Redzikowski of Oak at Fourteenth reflect on their one-year milestone following a fire that left the restaurant in ashes
And like his partner in Oak, Dayton has learned what works -- and what doesn't. "Our cocktail program has been successful from day one, but we've really increased our non-alcoholic soda program. It's fun, it's different and everyone likes effervescent sodas," he says. As for his cocktails, Dayton explains that his bartending style is simple. "It's esoteric, but simple. We just want to make really great, consistent, well-balanced cocktails, and our bar team is killing it."
He notes, too, a change in alcoholic trends: "We haven't made a lot of changes, but we are incorporating more low alcohols," mainly, he says, "because with low-alcohol cocktails, people can enjoy a lot more of them without getting blasted. I think the low-alcohol trend is going to kick along for a while."
And it certainly appears that one year after that devastating fire, Oak will be around for a long time to come. "I feel very positive about how things are going," says Dayton. "I'm super-stoked about our team, what we've accomplished and where we're going."
That includes Denver. Next year, in the spring, Dayton and Redzikowski will open Acorn in the Source in River North. "Like the name implies, we'll serve little nuggets from the tree," says Redzikowski. "We'll have smaller plates and a smaller place in general," and, he notes, the space will be more "grittier and urban" than its Boulder counterpart.
But while you're waiting for Acorn to get its roots, make a dinner date at Oak. Redzikowski's menu -- and Dayton's cocktails -- are better than ever. And you can see what's cooking (and what guests are drinking) on the next page, which includes an abbreviated culinary gallery of their dishes and drinks.