The Slotted Spoon, a new fast-casual restaurant, will enter the Denver dining scene in January in the University Hill Shopping Center. Today, the eatery launched its website and social media campaign meant to introduce the dining community to its meatball-focused menu in playful and interactive ways. For six weeks beginning on November 12, the Slotted Spoon will lay out a chapter from the life of a meatball, from conception to the sandwich form on its Facebook page. Before the story of the meatball is told, the trio behind the Slotted Spoon, Alex Comisar, Johnny Coast, and chef Jensen Cummings, shared the story of the Slotted Spoon.
Comisar, whose family owned restaurants as he was growing up, had his heart set on opening a restaurant for a while. "It has always been my dream to open a place. I started washing dishes when I was probably thirteen years old. I just wanted to be in restaurants. I didn't know all the hardships of it, it just looked really cool," Comisar said. A few years back, he moved to Colorado to attend college at the University of Denver. After graduation, he joined the management team at Ocean where he met Troy Guard whose team he soon joined at TAG. That is where he met chef Jensen Cummings one of his partners. On his next career stop, running a couple of night clubs, he met Johnny Coast, the third partner in the Slotted Spoon.
Nearly two years ago, Comisar began looking into single-item restaurant concepts. During a trip to New York City, he ran across the Meatball Shop and wanted to bring that concept to Denver. As much as he loved it, it didn't feel quite right. It was the format that didn't fit into the vision - the Meatball Shop is a traditional sit-down restaurant with hostesses and waiters and frills that Comisar was not a fan of. Somehow, Comisar recalled, while watching the Social Network, he considered the a possibility of thinking about his concept differently - he would make it a fast-casual eatery with a high-quality, well-crafted product driven by a chef.
Jensen Cummings, executive chef at Row 14 was the only person Comisar wanted to work with. There was no selection process or interviews- just a conversation in which the trio - Comisar, Cummings, and Coast came to the conclusion that this concept was feasible and easy to repeat in more than one location, a goal that the team has already committed to.
And so the selection of a space began. "We wanted something around DU," Comisar said. The former Super Salads in the University Hill Shopping Center at Yale and Colorado Boulevard was just being divided into two separate spaces. Larkburger picked up half of that space for a new location set to open next year. The Slotted Spoon took over the other space. "We love the location. It has the potential to piggy bank on three things: the business crowd, residents and the student body at the University of Denver," Comisar added.
A menu was designed under the direction of chef Cummings. Six meatballs are featured at the Slotted Spoon, all of which are gluten-free, made with Udi's gluten-free bread. Among the six: the classic beef meatball, a straight-forward combination of locally sourced meat mixed with parmesan, parsley and nutmeg, an Italian pork version that brings together sweet onions and fennel, and a Swedish-style salmon meatball that blends sour cream, dill, garlic and lemon. There will also be a vegetarian meatball made with black beans, quinoa, chickpea with Chipotle peppers. Eleven sauces have been developed to accompany the meatballs and a specially-made hoagie roll- wheat and white- made by Red Mountain will complete the signature dish. Pastas, salads, and kids versions of the sandwiches are also a part of the menu.
A modern and comfortable space was designed, a liquor license secured, and permits were obtained. Demolition began last week and actual construction begins today. It won't be long until the doors open for the meatball bonanza. In the meantime, follow developments on the Slotted Spoon on its new website, its Facebook page, and its new Twitter account.
And not that we need to spill more of the beans, but the word is that there is another location in the works out South close to Arapahoe road. For the time being, however, the team behind the Slotted Spoon is focused on launching this one.