The new JAX Oyster Bar located at 650 S. Colorado Boulevard in the City Set development is still under massive construction, but given Dave Query's track record with construction and remodels, it will be ready as projected for opening on Monday, June 24. Query, who owns the Big Red F Restaurant Group, which JAX is a part of, stepped out of his comfort zone with this space which is unlike the historic buildings full of character that other JAX restaurants operate in.
This location is brand new construction, virtually in a strip mall surrounded by two hotels, barely set off from a high trafficked street. On the plus side, this location is within 3 minutes of Cherry Creek North and the bike path and the upstairs patio features beautiful mountain views. "We really wanted to find an area that was underserved to open a JAX restaurant," Query said. "The dining options in this area are very slim. We hope that we will draw guests from Cherry Creek, Hilltop, Glendale, and beyond," he added.
The space, designed in collaboration with Jim Bray and built by Spectrum, will boast a massive classic JAX bar at the entry of the restaurant, complete a wood-cutout installation that resembles the hull of a boat hanging over the bar. There will be an oyster bar, of course, as well as a counter for hot steamer pots, a new way of cooking and serving that JAX introduced at its LoDo location earlier this year.
A sizeable aquarium will rest in the left-side window and some of the columns in the restaurant will be wrapped in oyster shells for a unique design touch. A large fully contained private dining room will be available for parties and events, a one-of-a-kind feature of all JAX restaurants. In the downstairs space, JAX Cherry Creek will be able to accommodate 100 guests inside and another 100 on a patio.
The menu in this downstairs space will follow the classic offerings established at other JAX restaurants, with a special highlight: in the steamer pots, the chefs at JAX will cook to order anything from the mussels to gumbo, clam chowder, a chili crab Singaporean-style, and an oyster pan roast.
The upstairs space, also a first for any JAX restaurant, will accommodate 110 diners who will get to enjoy a massive patio, great mountain views, and a large outdoor fireplace. This more casual area of JAX Cherry Creek will be serviced by a semi-covered outdoor kitchen.
The upstairs menu, focused exclusively on fish dishes that can be prepared with simple cooking means, will be displayed on daily changing blackboards above the kitchen line. Among the dishes selected by chefs Sheila Lucero and Duane Walker are whole grilled fish, Thai grilled dungeness crabs, house made lobster sausages, simple salads and new style crudos, and a grip of steamed bowls, soups, chowders and pan-roasts. In addition, the signature Jax Oyster Bar will be available top side as well behind the cocktail bar.
When it opens, the restaurant will serve lunch and offer a limited 2 to 4 p.m. raw bar on weekdays, dinner seven days a week with a daily happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m.