Denver's business district is about to get a taste of Frank Bonanno. The chef, whose flagship Mizuna is an ode to classic French cuisine and the first of his 10 restaurants, will open French 75 at 17th and Stout. With some 110 seats and private dining room accommodating 40 guests in a glass enclosed mezzanine, the casual Parisian-inspired bistro will sit on the ground level of a 30 story office high rise.
The 2,400 square foot space will blur the lines between the bar and the kitchen, giving guests a front seat to the craft of the cooks and the bartenders. "The kitchen is actually inside the bar, " Bonanno explained. "The space wraps around a big rectangular bar that spans almost three quarters of the length of the restaurant. Inside that space, bartenders and cooks will be working side by side," he added. The chef's business partner and wife Jacqueline Bonanno is behind this design that she has considered pursuing for years.
While there is no menu yet, Bonanno plans on offering straight comfort French-inspired fare from brandade to lobster salad and maybe trout Amandine, in the style of New York's Balthazar. Lunch and dinner will be served and a strong happy hour will give downtown workers a new place to relax after a day at the office.
"Think about it as the little brother restaurant to Mizuna," Bonanno said. "We will take some of the things we serve there and bring them to the downtown crowd in a more approachable form along with an aggressive cocktail program," he continued.
Why the name? "For one, is is one of my favorite cocktails. It is also simple, easy to remember, will come with a great logo, and it explains what we are doing: classic French," the chef shared.
Stay tuned for updates but expect an early winter opening.