A square meal, a stiff drink, a fair price is what Work & Class aims to offer guests starting next week when the RiNo restaurant will open its doors to the public. Co-owned by front of the house pro Delores Tronco, longtime bartender Tony Maciag, and seasoned chef Dana Rodriguez, the casual but elevated eatery is located at 2500 Larimer Street in a new industrial-style complex made out of 29 recycled shipping containers.
What's in store for diners when the doors open? The trio gave Eater a first look at the cozy space and a peek into the meat-centric, gluten-free heavy menu.
With 1400 square feet of space to play with, Work & Class splits its 50-some seats into a variety of options. There are several four-tops along the black square-patterned windows that mirror a mural photo of an abandoned warehouse in Detroit. There are two tops set along a banquette under the mural -tables that can be put together for larger parties. And there is a 12 top community table in the center of the dining room, a custom-made piece that incorporates a conveyor belt that has been cast in concrete. There is a bar by the entry and a chef's counter at the back of the space for an even more informal seating option, both hued in a dark turquoise, one of the colors of the mural.
The interior was conceived by Moe Ellio, a local designer formerly of Xan Creative. Many of the pieces created by her, like the hostess stand that also incorporates pieces of a conveyor belt, were built locally by Workshop Denver. The stunning graphics displayed on signs, on the menus, and several other materials are the work product of Rick Griffith, a local artist and graphic designer.
Sweet touches and personal stories are in many of the details of the space. The light fixture above the entryway is made of car pieces that Tony used to work on. The chairs are purchased from the University of Pennsylvania at an auction for $5 a piece by a relative who is a professor there- they were shipped across the country. Some of the walls are made of reclaimed lath - thin narrow strips of straight-grained wood used to build houses. Most of the floor is original boxcar floor, made of mahogany, the one wood that can escape termites. The soft light in the space comes courtesy of a MacGyver-inspired idea- gold spray paint applied on LED bulbs.
The menu at Work & Class is simple but the combinations and options seem endless. The choice is yours as the diner to compose your meal as you see fit- what and how much to eat. Three larger sections list Appetizers/Soups/Salads, Meats, and Sides. There are also five house-made breads and five desserts. The meats are cooked in the giant $15K rotisserie oven that can fit up to 36 whole chickens at once and range from coriander-roasted Colorado lamb to stout-braised short ribs and red-chili braised pork. There is rotisserie chicken available in two varieties and fried catfish and a roasted goat. All of the sides are gluten free and so are most of the appetizers and salads. While the menu seems heavy on meat, there are many vegetarian options. The bar menu includes carefully selected beers, wine, and cocktails that pair well with the food and keep the fuss to a minimum.
The restaurant will open on next Wednesday and will serve dinner only six days a week (closed on Mondays), with an aggressive (read, great deals!) happy hour every day from 4 to 6 p.m.