Stowaway Coffee + Kitchen has, since opening in late 2015, allowed its subtle simplicity to magnetize the breakfast-brunch-lunch crowd in a reclaimed industrial space at 2528 Walnut St. Owned by husband-wife duo Hayden Barnie and Amy Cohen, the café concept was inspired by their world travels and backgrounds.
Minus Tuesdays – closed for "adventures," – the food selection is eclectic, with flavors of Australia, Greece, Spain and France that freckle the design and menu from the regularly rotating morning pastries to dishes that have popped on and off the menu, including the braised lamb with couscous, shashuka and, because Barnie is a native Kiwi, notes from his New Zealand homeland.
But unless you find yourself dining with Stowaway on Fridays, you likely wouldn’t know that Japan has a specific day reserved on the menu each week.
"Since Stowaway's menu is so heavily inspired from the places Hayden [Barnie] and I have lived in and traveled to, you will see much influence from Japan, Australia/New Zealand and Middle Eastern countries," Cohen says.
"Japan is the closest to our hearts because:
a.) we met there
b.) I'm half Japanese and my Japanese mama plays a big role in these specials
c.) there isn't enough traditional Japanese food in Denver."
Japanese specials include: the board, with one yukari onigiri (arice ball with shiso rice seasoning), kinpira gobo (spicy sautéed burdock root and carrot), house misoshiru, salted edamame, kabocha no nimono (simmered japanese pumpkin); the hiyashi chūka (chilled ramen), with noodles, chilled broth, hot mustard, and julienned toppings such as cucumbers, ham, nori, spring onions, tomatoes and japanese egg strips. Here's a glimpse:
Cohen calls it a philosophy, as each element of the Friday meals offers a sensory counterpoint. The Stowaway team tries to create one traditional Japanese dish each week, but a few favorites have been repeat offenders.
She adds that the team selected the last day of the work week to feel like a treat, and the weekend rush is too busy to add something so intricate to the lineup.
"We started doing it every Friday because it sparked so much interest for those who weren't familiar with traditional Japanese dishes and excitement for those who were."