clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Early Word on the Newly Reborn Squeaky Bean

Photo: Adam Larkey

The new location of Johnny Ballen's cult favorite The Squeaky Bean is so new it doesn't even have a full website yet, but that hasn't stopped customers from showing up in force. Fresh from a year-long absence, Ballen, chef Max MacKissock, and bartender Sean Kenyon are now serving local, seasonal food and quirky cocktails from from a brand-new LoDo space. Some early reviewers have expressed disappointment with the update, but most seem happy with the new locale and menu (including recent celebrity guest Bill Murray). Read on to see what diners have to say about the food, service, and atmosphere at the new Squeaky Bean.

The Not So Good News An OpenTable user is doesn't really get it: "Wow...what a change from the old squeaky bean! This place resembles nothing but the name. Food, atmosphere, and prices are MUCH fancier. In fact, the food was SO fancy that we pretty much had to ask the server to explain everything on the menu. Most of the dishes were fairly good, but they just seemed overdone with the # of ingredients, complicated preparations, etc. My husband and I are definitely foodies, so if we didn't "get" it, I'm not sure the average diner will. I did enjoy the cheese cart that came around to the tables. However, again, it was very expensive." [OpenTable]

The Great News: A Yelper is a fast fan: "I read some of the other reviews before going and I have to say, I'm not quite sure what people are talking about in terms of being disappointed. In comparison to the old bean, I don't think there is one. They're two totally different restaurants and the new version is more spacious, beautiful, and seems to really let the chef show off his talent. The food is very approachable, not just for "foodies" (i hate that term anyway, isn't anyone who eats food allowed to say they're a "foodie"?) and it seems like just because the place is new, doing something new, people wanna knock it. I don't know how you can overlook the flavors that are this restaurant...So my verdict is GO to the squeaky bean and GO SQUEAKY BEAN!" [Yelp]

The Average News: From Foursquare: "Impressed that I wasn't impressed. Drinks were great, food was average." [Foursquare]

The OK News: Another OpenTable user is likes the food but discovers quite a few kinks: "We were in on basically the 3rd day of service, so it was understandable to have some bumps along the way. The food was spectacular-looking and most of it lived up to the presentation with its flavor, though we were underwhelmed with a dish or two. The real hitch was the service, which was partly attributed to a new server on her first night, but also just the new cheese cart and other things that weren't particularly well-timed. Wait times were a little long overall, even with a half-full dining room. We had a couple of cocktails (A+ bar staff here, though the drinks will definitely put a hole in your wallet), some apps, several mains, and 4 desserts and the bill was over $200 for 5 people... not insane expensive, but close." [OpenTable]

The Bad News: This Yelper is not pleased: "Since I loved the old SB, I was very excited to dine at the new one. I was quickly disappointed. They have completely revamped the menu, replacing tasty food with bland, tiny, overpriced entrees...Owners - Enjoy your honeymoon while it lasts. Denver is not a town that wants to be amazed with what you can do with deep fried flower buds. Better fix this fast before you join Coohills in near Groupon status." [Yelp]

The Promising News: The Denver Post is ">one hundred percent on board: "Opening night on June 29 ran seamlessly, save for the fact that a liquor license wouldn't be issued for another day. The bar staff made up for it with an array of housemade sodas. But the food was exceptional, including a squash dish that used all parts of the vegetable, including the blossom, in a way that echoed the snout-to-tail takes on pork so popular with chefs of late." [Denver Post]

The Excellent News: Here, a rave from a Facebook fan: "The Bean is back! Thanks for an absolutely amazing dinner last night. The whole experience - the new space, service, drinks, and food wowed us. The peas and favas were incredible. Can't wait until we can go again!" [Facebook]

— With Alison Herman

The Squeaky Bean

1500 Wynkoop Street, Denver, CO 80209 (303) 623-2665 Visit Website

The Squeaky Bean

1500 Wynkoop St., Denver, CO

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater Denver newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world