February is dominated by Valentine's Day and we are about to spread a special kind of chain love starting right now: the love for our local restaurants and chefs. Earlier this week, restaurant critic Stacey Brugeman of 5280 Magazine launched the month-long spread the love series with praises for chef Mary Nguyen and her new café, Olive & Finch. Nguyen passed along some love to chef Mark Dym of Marco's Coal Fired Pizza who, in turn, praised chef Troy Guard's TAG. Guard did the same for chef Jeff Osaka of Twelve, Osaka shared his love for Beast + Bottle, and now chef Paul Reilly talks up Bob Blair of Fuel Cafe.
Who opens a restaurant in RiNo? Well, now, everyone actually, thanks to Bob Blair. Chef Bob single-handedly pioneered that neighborhood into the restaurant dining destination that it is today. Fuel Cafe is a celebration of how we eat today. Simple flavors highlight his menu, made from ingredients that are meticulously and responsibly sourced. You can go big with a great wine pairing or stay casual and share a sandwich with a colleague over lunch.
In addition, what really impresses me about chef Bob is the staff under him. I've had the pleasure of meeting many of his kitchen crew in the past few months, both at events and when they're dining out at my restaurant. They are a passionate, talented crew with the utmost respect for their chef. He's a true leader who runs a world class kitchen, but he also makes time for his wife, Catherine, and his family. As a family man myself, it's always inspiring to see great chefs balance work and family.
But when I think if Fuel Cafe I always return to one word: gumption. Bob had the gumption to know his vision for a great restaurant would work in a place that had no restaurants. And now he's the godfather of the hottest neighborhood in town.
Every day, the recipient of the praises will have a chance to pass the love around. Come back tomorrow to hear what restaurant chef Blair is obsessing over this month.
· February Love: Restaurant Critic Stacey Brugeman on Olive & Finch [EDen]
· Chef Mary Nguyen on Marco's Coal Fired Pizza [EDen]
· February Is For Lovers: Chef Mark Dym on TAG [EDen]
· Chef Troy Guard on Twelve Restaurant and Jeff Osaka [EDen]
· February Is For Lovers: Chef Jeff Osaka on Beast +Bottle [EDen]
· The Mammoth Guide to Valentine's Day: 56 Ways To Celebrate [EDen]
· Happy Hour Heatmap: Where To Get The Best Deals [EDen]