Tonight, Joe Pettenger and chef Taylor Drew, both Denver restaurant veterans, are reopening the doors to LoHi Steak Bar for dinner. The popular eatery and bar closed on Monday as Pettenger and Drew readied to make their mark on the restaurant located at 32nd and Tejon. The front-of-the-house/chef duo have taken over ownership from longtime Denver chef Sean Kelly and are now operating the five year old restaurant in partnership with Larimer Associates.
Some important changes were made by the new business partners who have known each other since first grade. The cocktail menu has been combed down to just eight drinks. The focus is on steak-appropriate spirits- ryes, bourbons, scotches, and brandies. A great beginning to a meal, however, is the fall-approapriate Sparkling Pear, a drink that Pettenger is very fond of. "Everything should start with bubbles," he says of the combination of St. George Spiced Pear Liqueur, lemon, and prosecco. There is also a great selection of mostly local beers on draft, plus additional cans and bottles, as week as a curated list of wines.
Chef Drew kept a couple of staples on the menu - the Blue Smoke Burger and the French Onion Soup-but he also added exciting entrees like the pan-seared scallops served with celery root puree, roasted leeks, and parsley, and the fried chicken and waffle sandwich, a dish that brings together Belgian waffles, chicken sausage gravy, braised baby greens, and maple syrup. The steaks are still a big deal at this neighborhood spot and the demi-glaze that accompanies that will likely bring guests back for more.
Pettenger and Drew gained experience working with Bonanno Concepts-Pettenger most recently served as general manager at Osteria Marco, and Drew has spent time in the kitchens of Osteria Marco, Russell's Smokehouse, and Mizuna.
The restaurant is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner and offers an early and a late happy hour each day. Brunch is served on weekend.