Breckenridge-Wynkoop have a concept for South Pearl -- but the name's still a secret
As we reported last week, Izakaya Den plans to move into its new home at 1477 South Pearl, right next to Sushi Den, by the end of May. That will finally free up the current home of Izakaya Den, at 1518 South Pearl, which the Breckenridge-Wynkoop group acquired last year in a complicated trade that gave the owners of the Dens the former home of the Pearl Street Grill.
And what do the Breckenridge-Wynkoop planners have in mind for the building?
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Not another Pearl Street Grill, that's for sure. And since the switch has taken longer than originally anticipated -- "That's been a big challenge," says Lisa Berzins Ruskaup, concept director for Breckenridge-Wynkoop -- they've gone through a couple of ideas, including a low-country concept that they abandoned after Restaurant Fourteen Seventy-Two opened down the block.
But now they think they have just the right idea, one they haven't done before at any of their current twelve properties (and they just closed on a thirteenth in Fort Collins). "We are developing a concept for that neighborhood," explains Ruskaup. "We feel like we've identified a need." And the need is not necessarily for more beer, although of course the place will have that, since the company has a "DNA for beer," she notes.
But the restaurant they'll create will be "a much more rounded concept, inspired by the Colorado lifestyle." And Colorado products, since they'll be collaborating with Leopold Bros. and Infinite Monkey Theorem, among others, for the beverage program. As for the menu, corporate chef Chris Cina is already trying dishes and actively recruiting a "high-level chef," Ruskaup says. "That's a clue."
Once they can finally move in, the building will get a makeover, too, one that removes the Asian flair. "One of our design elements is to incorporate curves in motion," Ruskaup reveals. The timeline for that work is ninety days -- four months at most -- which could have the restaurant opening late summer. And what will it be called?
"I can't say," she says. But she does promise that the place will have staying power and be part of the Pearl Street neighborhood for a long time: "I don't want to do something tragically hip."
A version of this story appeared in Cafe Bites, our newsletter devoted to drinking and dining in Denver that appears in e-mail boxes every Wednesday. Find out how to subscribe here.