Open, open, open

December 13, 2013

A handful of eateries and foodie retail spaces have opened recently. I told you earlier about Olive & Finch, the Mary Nguyen-owned space adjacent to her original restaurant Parallel 17 on 17th Avenue.

And right around the same time, Pikkas Peruvian Cuisine & Pisco Bar opened in the former Abrusci’s and Campo de Fiore space at 300 Fillmore St.

Pikkas, which officially opened on Dec. 2, held a press dinner this week featuring menu samples including baby octopus with haucatay sauce, ceviche clasico, pescado en salsa de cilantro, Portobello ravioli crema and alfajor with lucuma ice cream.

It’s a nice addition to the eclectic Cherry Creek North dining scene.

I’ve yet to try chef/restaurateur Troy Guard’s new ventures Los Chingones and Sugarmill at 2463 and 2461 Larimer St., but am planning a visit soon and will file a full report.

Guard, an established Denver chef with TAG, TAG Raw Bar and TAG Burger Bar joined forced with Noah French to bring us the new concepts.

Los Chingones is Guard’s take on Mexican food in the hot RiNo district serving familiar favorites like guacamole, ceviche and tacos with a TAG twist.

On the sweeter side, chef French whipped up Sugarmill, a bakery, lounge and dessert bar.

Opened earlier this week was Lower48, a contemporary American restaurant on the corner of 21st and Lawrence streets. The menu changes daily and is inspired by regional ingredients and culinary traditions.  The menu features natural preserving techniques, artisan breads, heritage breeds, heirloom vegetables and house-made pastas.

Mario Nocifera and his business partner, Alex Figura, opened the Ballpark restaurant, located in a multi-use residential and commercial LEED-gold certified building.
“The name references the continuous United States,” Nocifera told “We get our inspiration regionally throughout the lower 48 states. A lot of the design of the restaurant references what I feel has made America great — the expansion out West, the Transcontinental railroad … You will see images of trains and travel and commerce throughout the restaurant, including the wood above the bar that came from a 1950s semi, the community table is made of 1930s boxcar floor,” he explains.

Entering the food retail arena is Western Daughters Butcher Shoppe at 3326 Tejon St. in the trendy LoHi neighborhood.

The 720-square-foot butcher shop carries an array of boutique grocery items such as small-batch condiments, sauces, cheeses and marinades, as well as dry goods to accompany Western Daughters’ High Plains meat. Beef, pork and lamb in addition to seasonal game meats are available in a variety of cuts along with semi-prepared foods and items such as stock, marrow butter and deli meats.

Fiancée team Kate Kavanaugh and Josh Curtiss began the Colorado brand after training in New York under two seasoned butchers in conjunction with Fleisher’s Grass-fed and Organic Meats. The duo’s promise is that each animal, farm and community is treated ethically from ranch to table.

Every cut is antibiotic and hormone free and raised on open range. The entire animal is utilized for its various components. This is reflected in the butcher shop’s dozens of specialty cuts and products from animals raised for Western Daughters, and all sourced and harvested from within 250 miles of the shop.

“We see animals from the inside out, and it’s with that perspective that we’re able to verify the health of the animals and help support sustainable ranching and land management practices,” co-owner Kavanaugh said.

Curtiss added, “We’ve moved away from truly knowing where our food came from; we want to be a window from Denver into those ranches, from the life of the animal to the lives of those that raise the animals.”

Seasonal events, lectures, classes, farms visits, butcher demonstrations and community dinners will all be added to the Western Daughters agenda next year. The butcher shop also will be expanding their line of semi-prepared foods and sandwiches.

More information at

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