Rioja’s redesign is ready for its close-up

February 11, 2015

Rioja owners Beth Gruitch and Jennifer Jasinski threw a “coming out” party Monday night to show off the extensive remodel of the 10-year-old restaurant on Larimer Square.

Drinks flowed, bites were passed and local movers and shakers – including Larimer Square boss Jeff Hermanson – came to ogle the new digs.

“We’ve grown up,” Jasinski said about the sleeker, sparer and more sophisticated restaurant decor from Denver-based Boss Architecture.

James Beard award-winning chef Jasinski and business partner Gruitch reopened their flagship restaurant on Feb. 4 after a nearly-one month complete renovation.

“Our food, service and wine program have never been better,” Jasinski said. “Now, we’ve got a sexy new design to show off our skills. I can’t wait for everyone to see it.”

Jordy Construction was assigned the task of demolishing the existing Rioja down to the raw brick and stud walls and building a brand new space, all in less than a month.

“Boss designed our newest restaurant, Stoic & Genuine at Union Station, and we love what the team did with that space,” Gruitch said. “It was an easy decision to use the Boss and Jordy combo for the Rioja remodel and they did not disappoint.”

A fully re-envisioned seating concept complete with chairs and booths covered in a sage green crushed velvet, multiple booth and banquette seating options, and a more intimate lounge area are all part of the new look.

To celebrate the robust nature of the wine program at Rioja, the wine display is the centerpiece of the new design as it moved out from the edge of the space into the center of the room.

The lighting in the space is now located primarily at the guest level to create a soft intimate atmosphere. A rich color palette reflects the history of Rioja, both the restaurant and the region for which the restaurant is named, featuring warm woods, gold and brass accents including a gold leaf style wall covering, and deep rich accent colors used on the seating and screens throughout. The distinctive brick wall that separates the two dining areas has been white-washed.

Rioja is the flagship restaurant of Crafted Concepts and is located at 1431 Larimer St. More information at or by calling 303-820-2282. Other Crafted Concepts restaurants include Bistro Vendôme, Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen in Larimer Square, and Stoic & Genuine in Denver’s historic Union Station.

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