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Chef Justin Brunson Spearheads Fine Casual Honor Society

The first location of the health-centric eatery will open in July.

Justin Brunson at Old Major
Justin Brunson at Old Major
Adam Larkey

Next month, chef Justin Brunson, who helms Old Major as well as Masterpiece Deli and Denver Bacon Company, will launch his latest project, a health-centric casual eatery named Honor Society Handcrafted Eatery. The menu includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner with options like breakfast tacos and acai bowls, flatbread pizzas, salads, sandwiches, or a la carte build-your-own plates that have a healthy protein as the base.

The commitment that Honor Society makes is to bring healthy yet craveable, market-driven food that maximizes nutrition per calorie and spotlights high-quality, locally-sourced-when-possible ingredients. Guests will be able to build a lunch or dinner around Aspen Ridge flank steak, Scottish salmon, or sustainably-raised chicken, among others. Vegetables-centric or starchy sides can be added to the plate if a sandwich or salad does not hitting the spot that day.

Bonus: There will be signature cocktails on tap, created by bartender Glenn Pollack of Oak at Fourteenth. Wine and beers, as well as a variety of sodas will also be available. Just don't ask for coffee or hot tea as neighbor Starbucks has an iron-clad exclusive in the building.

The new fine yet fast eatery will open its doors at 1900 16th Street, behind Union Station in a LEED certified building that also houses Pot Belly Sandwiches (and Starbucks) on the ground floor. The aesthetic of the 3,500 square foot space is described as barn-meets-loft, bringing together a barn's durability and the contemporary edge of a loft.

Honor Society combines Brunson's culinary talents with those of a group of partners: Jonas Tempel, Rob Alvarado, Ian Smith, and Ben Kaplan. Tempel, the brand man behind Factory Design Labs, is also founder of Beatport, an online electronic music retailer he sold in 2013, and the owner of Beta, a nightclub in LoDo.

Alvarado is a lawyer with an undergraduate degree in hotel and restaurant management from Cornell whose venture Palo Alto Inc./Alvarado Concepts LLC owns and operates 144 Pizza Hut, KFC, and Taco Bell franchises in multiple states. With a (hardly-used) Twitter handle like @DenverTacoMan, Alvarado can now bring breakfast tacos that are much healthier than their Taco Bell counterpart.

Ian Smith has extensive experience in the food and beverage industry, while Kaplan, who runs Imagine Nation Books/BooksAreFun, is an investor in the acclaimed Oak at Fourteenth.

The new business group wears its commitment to giving back to the community on its sleeve. Alvarado is leading the charge on the charitable side of the business which will launch no sooner than this Thursday when the eatery's team will participate in Do at the Zoo. The Denver Zoo's annual gala brings samples from over 60 restaurants and unlimited drinks with the goal of fundraising for its education initiatives.