Nature-inspired River and Woods will open its doors next week at 2328 Pearl Street in Boulder. Brainchild of Josh and Kate Dinar and executive chef Daniel Asher, formerly of RootDown/Linger/Ophelia, the upcoming restaurant is set in a 100 year old structure, which previously housed the iconic John's Restaurant. The old and new, the organic, and the community commitment permeate not only the space but the food and drink offerings.
A rich blue, in contrast with the previous red, the charming facade of the home reminds guests of the nostalgic John's. Inside, it is still apparent how the previous space was divided but the interior opened up is now an airy yet intimate eatery clad in wood with blue accents. A cozy entryway provides a refuge while waiting for a table and doubles as a small kids play area. There is a front bar for dining and happy hour, a cozy dining area with tables and banquettes, and an 8 top chef's table in the back where guests can watch the action up-close. The former parking area in the back has been transformed into a whimsical backyard with its own kitchen and bar, giving diners another option for seating and another reason for visiting.
The eclectic menu, organized by main ingredient - Rivers, Woodlands, Coasts, High Plains, and Farmlands- pays homage to the chef's fearless flavor combinations as well as the community. The former part brings to the menu dishes like the Matzo Ball Ramen, while the community aspect provides the structure on which it is built. Asher took a matzo ball family recipe which came from a longtime Boulder resident and gave it a bold twist in a ramen-style dish. Other highlights include the Oysters Hickenlooper, a local twist on Oysters Rockefeller, the Asian-leaning Montreal duck wings, the modernized gnocchi verde (an original dish at John's), and the sweet ending that is tableside s'mores.
A well-edited beverage program focused around Colorado beers and spirits and wines from all over the world complements the food that will be offered for dinner daily and for brunch on the weekends.