Bang Up To The Elephant, the newest endeavor by the owner of Two Fisted Mario’s Pizza, Double Daughter’s Salotto, and Beatrice & Woodsley, is just as much an escape from the outside world as its quirky predecessors. It opens this Saturday, bringing some Caribbean heat to the intersection of Denver’s 13th and Pearl Streets in the dead of January. Owner Kevin Delk has imparted his love for the islands’ culture on the new space. And he’s transmitted to chef Travis Messervey his favorite staples from a complicated cuisine that spans influences from West Africa to East India and China.
Diners will find a Trinidadian “bake and shark” on the menu, a popular beach-side flatbread sandwich in this case made with breaded and fried spiny dogfish as opposed to any endangered shark species. Pimento wood-smoked jerk chicken is served with black-eyed peas and rice and also cabbage slaw and grilled pineapple. Kale salads are lined with fried sweet plantains. Hot little scotch bonnet peppers top almost every dish, and a twist on callaloo is made with kale and collard greens (as opposed to the traditional taro leaves) in a creamed taro root and coconut milk.
With coconut, pineapple, plantain, rice and beans, and cornbread as common elements, most everything on the menu can be made vegetarian or vegan. Some items, like the jerk chicken, probably shouldn’t be substituted. Morning service will bring donuts and chicory coffee to a sidewalk grab-n-go window and street-facing cafe, while evening drinks are served farther back inside the industrial-chic bar (and often inside halved coconuts). Cocktail ingredients include serrano peppers, Andy Capp’s Hot Fries-infused tequila, hibiscus and tamarind syrups, and cream of coconut. Eater photographer Jonathan Phillips got a first taste of the menu, pictured below, and a look inside the space, pictured here.
Status: Bang Up To The Elephant! opens for dinner Saturday, January 27, at 1310 Pearl Street. All-day service starts at 7 a.m. Monday, January 29.