Uncle [Photos: Adam Larkey]
Tommy Lee has been looking for a space to open an Asian concept for several years now, and when he found a spot at 2215 W. 32nd Avenue several months ago, everything about it felt right. In recent weeks, Lee has started construction at Uncle, a LoHi Asian eatery inspired by NYC's Momofuku Noodle Bar. Lee plans on serving a variety of Asian dishes at Uncle, which he says will have a similar feel to David Chang's modern and urban restaurants. "I went to Noodle Bar the first time by myself and it was like someone had taken my entire life and put it into a restaurant — everything from the food, atmosphere, design and attitude was what I craved in my own life." Uncle will seat around 40 people, and like Noodle Bar, there will be an open kitchen in the dining room.
As for the name of the restaurant, Lee says that Uncle seemed like a fitting name for several reasons: "In Asian culture, you call everyone who's older aunt or uncle, out of respect. Uncle is an Asian reference, but it's an American word. It's my way of paying respect to the people I've learned from." Lee, a Denver native and business grad from Emory University in Atlanta, has spent the last several years working in management at Denver-based Chipotle, where he's learned the ins and outs of the fast casual restaurant world. Between his management background, a variety of restaurant jobs and his travels through China, Lee is confident that he has a good formula. "I want it to provide great value, a sense of comfort and soul — which I feel is lacking in Denver."
Uncle should be opening in early May, and Eater will provide updates along the way.