The first of two rotisserie restaurants opening this fall in Denver hits Avanti Food & Beverage on Thursday. The Rotary is a fast-casual shop for rotisserie meats and sides, and at the food hall it’s replacing Chow Morso, which just upgraded to a bricks-and-mortar restaurant.
Run by Chow Morso’s opening chef, Don Gragg, the Rotary is built around a Brazilian-style churrasco grill that turns meats and vegetables over oak wood and charcoal. The result is a crisped on the outside, juicy in the middle picanha sirloin steak, pork shoulder, and chicken thigh, as well as broccolini and baby potatoes.
“There’s no really good, artisan rotisserie chicken out there,” Gragg said about bringing this concept to Denver. “People can come in and eat this three times a week rather than once a month,” he added.
His menu revolves around plates of the rotisserie-cooked meats, accompanied by a choice of sauces — Portuguese peri peri, Argentinian chimichurri, Peruvian aji verde — and side dishes from lemon arugula salad to parmesan, parsley, and garlic brown butter potato chips. Sandwiches highlight each of the meats as well as a charred churrasco cauliflower with pickled onions and tahini.
Gragg practiced the barbecue technique cooking over an open hearth for more than a decade in southern France, where he worked as a personal chef for Hollywood royalty. This humble new rotisserie shop belies decades of experience cooking from Colorado to New York, LA, and Europe. He helped to open Barolo Grill in Cherry Creek in the early ‘90s, before moving on to Mel’s in Denver, Chez Panisse in Berkeley, and New York’s Gramercy Tavern.
This latest project is a collaboration with brothers Scott and Brian Boyd, Gragg’s childhood friends from Colorado. The partners hope to open an “upscale fast-casual” brick-and-mortar spot somewhere in Denver after testing out the Rotary at Avanti. For now, food hall diners have some time to try out and go back for $14 and $15 meat platters, $11 to $13 sandwiches, and for dessert, frozen soft-serve custard for $4.
Status: The Rotary opens Thursday at 11 a.m. inside Avanti F&B, 3200 North Pecos Street. Hours will be from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. For updated menus and more information, check back at the website.