By next fall, fans of Lon Symensma's cooking will have another place to get their fix. The chef, who runs ChoLon and Cho77, is planning to open a restaurant in Stapleton.
Located in the new Eastbridge Town Center development at Martin Luther King and Havana, the yet-to-be-named restaurant will occupy about 3000-3500 square feet and feature about 100 seats and two patios. "The size is right in between what I have a ChoLon and what I have at Cho77," Symensma explained. "I think it is a manageable in-between, with some really cool patio space," he added.
Chef Luke Bergman, currently at ChoLon, will be spearheading the kitchen in Eastbridge. Bergman, whose resume includes working at Colicchio and Sons and serving as the executive chef at the Modern in New York City, has known Symensma for what seems like a lifetime. The two met at the Culinary Institute of America and crossed paths several times, until Bergman, who now has a young family, decided to move to the Mile High City.
The chefs may not have a name for this new project but their vision is becoming more and more clear: Create an American concept with New York City flair that transforms its vibe throughout the day. There will be breakfast and a juice program in the morning, sandwiches and soups at lunch, and more elegant fare at dinner time.
Symensma's restaurant joins several other retail and dining attractions in the complex set to break ground in December, including an outpost of the Kitchen Next Door, a third location of Los Chingones, and a breakfast eatery helmed by chef Troy Guard.
The Stapleton project that is not the only thing that Symensma is working on. After successfully revamping the food program at Union Station's Cooper Lounge, the chef is tackling some of the other concepts inside the train station, including the food served at the Terminal Bar and the banquet program for the Crawford Hotel. "We are waiting for permits to redo the space downstairs and add kitchen functions to it," Symensma explained. "My goal is to create a food program for banquets that the Crawford Hotel deserves and to rebrand and improve some of the current concepts. The role I play is that of a consultant or culinary director if you want," he added.
What else? If you are like most fans of the Illinois-born chef, when you think Symensma, you think soup dumplings. There may be some good news for the South-side dinners. The chef hinted that there may be a soup dumpling addition in the future of Cho77.