Exclusive first look: Ay Caramba! opens in Cherry Creek

AyC1.jpg
All photos by Lori Midson.

Alex Gurevich, who owns Limón, a Latin American lounge in Uptown, as well as My other Bar on Seventh Avenue, wasn't in the market for a third restaurant, but after his ex-wife vacated Bisque last June, the Cherry Creek North space became available. And since Gurevich held the note to that space, he figured, what the hell?

See also:
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"I own the space and was initially planning to sell it," says Gurevich, but the deal fell through, he adds, and rather than deal with another potential buyer, Gurevich made the decision to snatch it up himself. "I spent three months in Florida with my kids, and when I got back to Denver, I felt rejuvenated and invigorated, and since the original deal didn't pan out, I figured I may as well do another restaurant."

Except he didn't have a concept. But his friend and neighbor, Jorge Alonso, who owns Vinue, a swanky, flirtatious wine bar just steps way from the former Bisque, had a few ideas. Alonso, an ex-partner in Grupo Anderson's, the Mexican restaurant conglomerate that owns Señor Frog's, suggested that Gurevich bring tortas to Cherry Creek. "We met, chatted, had the same synergy, and he thought the tortas would be a big draw in this neighborhood," says Gurevich, who then traveled to Mexico City, Chicago, San Diego and Los Angeles for inspiration.

"We knew we wanted to do tortas, but we knew, too, that we wanted them to be authentic and refined," explains Gurevich, who named his restaurant Ay Caramba!, which can translate to a couple of different exclamations in Spanish, usually, "Oh, my God!", or "Holy crap!"

Gurevich opened Ay Caramba! this weekend, pimping a board of fifteen different Mexican street sandwiches. He uses bolillo bread, baked at a local panaderia, and smears the crusty rolls with black refried beans stacked with everything from roasted poblano chiles and Negro Modelo-braised pork to eggs and chorizo. There are no tacos, no burritos, no enchiladas -- just tortas, charro beans, a few side dishes, salads and soups, and guacamole, which can be dressed with queso fresco, rajas, bacon, charred corn or toasted pepitas.

Location Info

Ay Caramba!

2817 E. 3rd Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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9 comments
bugsyx0
bugsyx0

@foodcrazy "Jesus? From las Tortugas? Cuz ur place looks just like it!!

bugsyx0
bugsyx0

Tortas in a bolillo?? No mames!! Tortas are served on aTelera! I guess we have the New Mexican Subway!!!

Nikki
Nikki

No way it makes it past year end. 

LoriMidsonCafeSociety
LoriMidsonCafeSociety moderator editor

@Fletcherneedsajob I would have been happy to, save for the fact that when I was shooting the space last week, the kitchen wasn't open -- nor was the restaurant. They had chips and salsa and nothing more.

Fletcherneedsajob
Fletcherneedsajob topcommenter

You couldn't take one photo of an actual sandwich???

Tortas
Tortas

1. Seems a bit crazy to open a casual Mexican place next to Machete, a successful casual Mexican place.
2. Seems a bit crazy to offer only tortas on the menu in Cherry Creek North, the gluten free capital of Denver.

Otherwise, sounds good to me even though I wouldn't have chosen that location for that concept. 

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve topcommenter

@bugsyx0 

Calm down, for Jesus' sake.  It's just that a telera roll is not as hearty as bolillo. 

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve topcommenter

@Tortas 

I guess since Alex Gurevich has owned and/or run more restaurants than most people have owned shirts, he can take the risk.

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