Inspired by his Hawaiian history, Troy Guard presents the latest of his culinary compendium to RiNo's Industry building, with Mister Tuna officially opening today.
The intention behind the eatery, which he calls a "neighborhood sanctuary," is to encourage the same camaraderie Guard remembers from childhood, dining with friends and family.
The 3,500-square-foot, glamorously gritty, black and gold space seats 115, including 40 on the front Brighton Boulevard patio. The space maintains much of the vintage character of the former industrial distribution center facility.
A small swanky mezzanine greets guests overhead, with a plush black couch and benches. Four garage doors allow natural light to pour into the dining area, creating an indoor-outdoor feel. You can't miss the black, white, and grey mural that stretches from floor to ceiling on the southern wall of the interior, depicting a windblown woman – Guard's mother in a recreation of a 1970s photo. If you close in on the portrait, a quick "Where's Waldo" game will result in found images of Guard's childhood pet – a parrot named Mr. Tuna – and the chain of Hawaiian islands.
The bar serves as a divider between the kitchen and dining room and spans nearly the entire length of the back wall, housing a creative cocktail program from TAG (one of eight Guard restaurants) beverage director, Michael Cerretani. Nikki Guard's presentation of 70 to 80 wine labels on the list rounds out the family affair theme of the eatery.
A wood-fired grill, rotisserie, raw bar, and pickling post make up the open kitchen that turns out eclectic American and pan-Asian fare. Guard recalls cooking over an open fire nightly as a child, putting grilled proteins and fresh catches over a heaping pile of rice with his dad, whom he lovingly nicknamed Mr. Tuna, as well.
The subtly Hawaiian themed menu includes a diverse range of small plates and heartier entrees, threaded together by the grill and several fermented garnishes. Try the ricotta toast with guanciale, cured in-house, with seasonal Colorado cherries and aged balsamic. Or taste the homemade gnocchi with grilled broccolini, porcini butter, and crispy speck. Since fish is in the name, we recommend the king crab starter, drenched in warm, brown butter with Palisade peaches and a black lava salt.
Along with this opening, Guard has another three culinary concepts in the hopper. To start, Mister Tuna will be open for dinner service. Come August 15, Guard and company will add grab-and-go breakfast and lunch menus.
Mister Tuna opens Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at 3033 Brighton Blvd.