In a structure that housed one of the city’s earliest firehouses, executive chef Franco Ruiz debuts a new menu at the recently opened Woodie Fisher restaurant. The opening, which took place last month, marked the completion of a careful restoration process by Focus Property Group and is a part of the adjacent Hilton Garden Inn’s grand opening. Chef Ruiz’s official menu will be fully available to guests starting in July.
The focus of the new menu is its ingredients: seasonable, sustainable, and local flavors are the staples diners can count on. Following his experience abroad, Ruiz worked for the past six years as chef de cuisine at Fruition. With his background working under Alex Seidel of Fruition, Ruiz will also rely on technique to guide his kitchen.
While carefully prepared, the food isn’t full of frills. “We’re an everyday joint,” Amy Healy, general manager of Hilton Garden Inn Denver Union Station, said. For the chef, Woodie Fisher is “a place that you come to not just for a special occasion but you come to once a week.”
The menu is designed with the neighborhood in mind. Diners can expect a wide variety, and the commitment to seasonality means the menu will change. Ruiz’s summer menu features starters like Wagyu beef tartare with egg yolk jam, mustard seed, and chives or crispy chicken resembling chicharrones served with house ranch dressing. A selection of flatbreads is available such as the charred broccolini flatbread with ricotta, peppers, chili flakes, and arugula. Entrees are substantial with options like a smoked pork short rib paired with cheddar grits and grilled steak served with hasselback potatoes. The drinks menu consists of cocktails, including a Hose House Margarita, wine, and beer.
The restaurant’s space proudly reflects its heritage — Hose House No. 1 began as a volunteer firefighter brigade in 1881. The main dining room is lit by a skylight, which replaced a dilapidated roof, and light fixtures in the private dining area are fashioned out of fire hoses. The space also includes a bar, chef’s table, and patio. The restaurant is named for one of Denver’s earliest fire foremen, Redwood “Woodie” Fisher, who is celebrated for having given his life in pursuit of a runaway horse-drawn hose wagon in 1870.
Woodie Fisher is open now, serving dinner daily from 5-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 5-11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.