Kevin Delk stays up late at night envisioning the details of his Denver bars and restaurants. The Atlanta transplant has made his mark on Colorado with a trio of whacky concepts from a punk-rock pizza parlor and dark fairytale lounge on Market Street to a woodland cabin wine bar with an upscale dining room on South Broadway. His latest project, Bang Up To The Elephant!, will open Saturday for dinner. The name comes from Victorian English slang for spot-on or complete. A fan of history and of stories, Delk says this new spot takes the best of his previous endeavors and should be “just right” in its combination.
The exact ingredients are hard to pin down. A Calypso and Caribbean-inspired gathering space, Bang Up To will serve punchy cocktails and plates matched by live music and bird sounds of the rainforest. It will open for all-day service that starts with a morning take-out window in a Southern porch-feeling cafe and continues with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night drinks inside the warehouse-like main dining area. The space could certainly serve as a community center at the intersection of 13th and Pearl Streets, where Wax Trax Records meets Hudson Hill and, just around the corner, the Molly Brown house. Next door, Denver Ted’s cheesesteaks gained a cult following before the owner vacated in 2017 for a move to LoDo.
Thirty years ago, Bang Up’s 6,000-square-foot room at 1310 Pearl Street was home to the Mercury Cafe. By the time Delk, himself a Capitol Hill resident, came across the building, it had fallen into disrepair: “When we found the space it was basically a home for pigeons and squatters.” Delk is a big fan of Cap Hill, however, and he has a history of moving into neighborhoods with challenging concepts. “I’m trying to find places that haven’t really been appreciated,” he says. “We’re not so much preserving history as making sure it doesn’t get erased.” But fixing up a decaying downtown building is only part of the equation. Together with Beatrice and Woodsley chef Travis Messervey, a Caribbean homage is carefully being created. Watch for a preview of the food here on Friday. For now, check out the interior with photos by Eater photographer Jonathan Phillips.
Status: Bang Up To The Elephant! at 1310 Pearl Street opens for dinner at 5 p.m. on Saturday, January 27. All-day service will begin at 7 a.m. Monday.