Welcome to Eater Scenes, where Eater photographer Adam Larkey visits some of the city's great restaurants to capture them at a certain, and very specific, point in the evening. Today: The Squeaky Bean, 7 p.m. on a Wednesday night.
When The Squeaky Bean reopened in Denver's historic Saddlery Building in June of this year, it wasn't long before diners and food journalists hailed it one of the best restaurants to enter the Denver restaurant scene. In fact, Denver Post dining critic William Porter awarded the restaurant a perfect four stars after less than two months of service — a rating The Denver Post hadn't dished out since 2005. Rewind, let's drop the hammer on that one more time — seven years. There's no telling how many restaurants came and went in that amount of time, or how many experiences missed the mark of perfection. The whole thing was a bit unreal, even to Squeaky Bean creator Johnny Ballen.
The overflow of praise has only created more enthusiasm at The Squeaky Bean, pumping energy into executive chef Max MacKissock's flawless, state-of-the-art kitchen. Each day begins mid-morning, when line cooks arrive to prep for the evening and MacKissock and his kitchen management team return from The Squeaky Acre, a farm where much of the restaurant's produce grows. MacKissock unloads the earth's offerings with things like heirloom tomatoes and edible flowers, offering them to be touched and smelled by everyone on the line. Each cook at their station continues to prep according to the day's checklist, casually bantering with their fellow cooks as music bumps through MacKissock's Bose system.
Once prep is completed and the dining room appears set-up for service, the team usually breaks for family meal, later returning to the kitchen to slide into their chef coats and hydrate for the evening to come — a solid five hours of intricate plating at high volume. Though the night is long, the positive attitude and dedication of each line cook shows on every plate — skillfully composed with the playful energy that has quickly become the restaurant's signature.
· All Squeaky Bean Coverage [-EDen-]