First look: Jimmy's Urban Bar & Grill opens in LoDo
You likely won't notice that the front door of Jimmy's Urban Bar & Grill slants, if only a little. It has something to do with luck -- good luck -- and Alicia Bernat, along with her husband Jim and their son and exec chef Jimmy, deliberately designed their new namesake restaurant with teases of feng shui: copper and metal elements are strategically placed among the televisions, while earth tones, the color of warm spices, brush the walls showcasing original art from local artists, which, by the way, is all for sale -- and every dime of what's sold goes directly to to the artist.
Jimmy's opened just a few weeks ago at 1530 Blake Street, taking over the former TD's Hot Dog's & Hamburgers, which didn't last long. The Bernats, who have owned several local restaurants and catering companies are betting on better luck, and the LoDo neighborhood, says Jimmy, who's originally from Chicago and has lived in LoDo for eight years, feels lucky. "This is the heartbeat of the city, and it just feels right to have a restaurant in the neighborhood where I live," he tells me, adding that he and his parents have been searching for the "right space for a few years."
And now that they've found it, they're hoping that downtown denizens will embrace their concept: "killer cuisine and cocktails." The regular menu, which Jimmy describes as "urban eclectic," pimps salads; hand-cut, beer-battered fries; hefty burgers; knife-and-fork sandwiches, including a properly "killer" Italian beef sandwich that Jimmy insists is "the best in town" and substantial starters, like Greek nachos, served with pita bread with riata, while a separate menu that changes monthly currently features African chicken paired with pork belly waffles, housemade linguine with mussels and and truffled scampi sauce and an espresso-dusted Cajun pork loin drizzled with a cranberry-chipotle glaze. "I think we have a great urbanized regular menu with a lot of familiar favorites, but I also wanted to do a monthly changing menu that's a bit more creative and focuses on what's really fresh and in season," says Jimmy, noting, for example, that all of his tomatoes are heirloom and organic.
And cocktails, along with beer, many of them local (there are several from Goose Island Brewery, in Chicago, too), and wine round out the beverage program. "We've got some great beers -- I love Goose Island -- and our cocktail list is awesome, with all fresh juices and fresh herbs and a really great housemade bloody Mary mix," says Jimmy.
Jimmy's is currently open for lunch and dinner daily, and starting May 25, it'll be open for weekend brunch, as well, with a board that includes everything from whiskey-maple doughnuts and green eggs and lamb, to red velvet pancakes and smoked brisket hash.
Here's a glimpse at the quarters and a few of the dishes that Jimmy and his chef de cuisine, Nate Gravina, formerly of the Lobby, are trotting out.