The scoop on Session Kitchen, the new Platt Park restaurant from Breckenridge-Wynkoop

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Lori Midson
Session Kitchen chef Scott Parker and Breckenridge-Wynkoop chef Chris Cina.
Yesterday morning, six of us gathered around a communal table to participate in a session -- a session that focused on the restaurant by the same name, specifically Session Kitchen, a new dining mecca from Beckenridge-Wynkoop that will open in late October in the former Izakaya Den space at 1518 South Pearl Street. And during that session, which included Scott Parker, chef of Session; Chris Cina, the company chef of Breckenridge-Wynkoop; and Lisa Berzins Ruskaup, the restaurant group's creative concept director, I learned quite a bit about what will undoubtedly become the buzz of Platt Park.

See also:

- First look: MainLine, a Breckenridge-Wynkoop project, opens in Fort Collins
- Exclusive: Scott Parker leaving Table 6 to spearhead Session Kitchen
- Photos: Breckenridge Brewery celebrates 23 years of Colorado craft beer

Lori Midson
Construction is underway for Session Kitchen, opening in late October on South Pearl Street.
"At Session Kitchen, we've started a portion revolution," declares Ruskaup. "Tapas is tired. Start sessioning."

Let her explain: Session Kitchen, she says, is "globally-inspired cuisine that's shared among guests in iron-clad cookware, portioned the way you want it." It's a "casual, vibrant, East-meets-West environment," she continues, that's "energized by local and international street art that provides both the gateway into -- and the backdrop for -- dining, drinking and lingering in three separate architectural areas inspired by nature, motion, music, art and culture."

That's the short version.

The longer version is much more detailed and begins with Ruskaup -- who's tiny -- standing in the behemoth space while it was still Izakaya Den, which has since relocated across the street, where it resides next door to Sushi Den, its sibling restaurant. "People loved Izakaya Den when it was here, and because there was absolutely nothing wrong with it, I stood in there trying to figure out what to do with the space so that I wasn't hated for making changes," recalls Ruskaup. "I asked myself why guests wanted to be there and what they loved about it," and the conclusion, says Ruskaup, was a restaurant that delivered exceptionally good food in an atmosphere that was full of positive, Zen-like energy.

And then Ruskaup, whose design prowess is nothing short of sheer genius, began to unleash her vision, an East-meets-West perspective incorporating a chef-driven kitchen with Parker at the helm, coupled with the 'hood's eclectic demographic: snowboarders, skateboarders, music junkies, sojourners, beer scholars, foodniks, culture vultures and artists.

And art -- the kind that makes you gawk -- is a big deal here. Whereas light fixtures have become the embodiment of "art" in so many of Denver's new restaurants, Ruskaup, a self-described "humungous art freak," along with her art consultant, Tom Horne, who owns Black Book Gallery, not only made the decision to showcase art -- but they're doing it on a monumental scale.

Eight permanent, original pieces (starting in September, we'll begin unveiling them here on Cafe Society), will be displayed, both inside and out, but one piece -- a psychedelic mural called "The Awakening," painted by internationally renowned graffiti/street artist Mear One -- is already front and center on the south side of the restaurant. Within its urbanized, new-age, kaleidoscopic swirls and jagged bolts lie, says Ruskaup, the "gateway to the Platt Park neighborhood" -- and images like a Buddha, which tap into the human conscience. The piece, which took 75 cans of spray paint to accomplish, is a showstopper, and you can expect to see more jaw-dropping pieces in the weeks to come.

Location Info

Session Kitchen

1518 S. Pearl St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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Session Kitchen sounds great... and manages to be different than anything else on the street (or city, it sounds like). I can't wait to try it. Stroller armies aside (I'm a guilty member), the openings and closings on S Pearl illustrate the amount of life and energy in the neighborhood. Consider where the street was 10 years ago.... a doll hospital, a costume shop (which is missed!), a laundromat, and a number of other sleepy buildings just waiting to be used more creatively. 

Hopefully this will be a wake up call to the Tavern... the tired concept and uninspired food are not in step with everything else happening on S. Pearl. I bet there's some space available in Greenwood Village or Centennial for a Tavern. 

mtnmc1 2 Like

"the 'hood's eclectic demographic: snowboarders, skateboarders, music junkies, sojourners, beer scholars, foodniks, culture vultures and artists."  We are talking about S. Pearl right? Stroller Army & the grandparents visiting seems more accurate.


I've seen the location and construction.  It looks pretty sizeable.  I am curious what the plan is for parking?  Sushi Den takes up quite a bit of available street space on neighboring streets.

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