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A Denver James Beard Nominee Opens His New LoDo Restaurant This Week

Kelly Whitaker’s BRUTØ will continue the chef’s focus on whole grains

A photo looking into the kitchen at Brutø, with the Stefano Ferrara pizza oven visible behind a wood counter
Dairy Block [Official Site]

Exactly six months after scoring a nomination for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: Southwest Award, Kelly Whitaker will open a new restaurant in Denver this week.

The new restaurant, which is called BRUTØ and is being billed as a “sustainability-focused” restaurant that will serve a “grain-focused and of-the-Earth menu,” will be the latest addition to Free Market. Free Market is a marketplace consisting of nine small retail spaces located inside LoDo’s Dairy Block development. Dairy Block is also home to the Milk Market food hall.

Whitaker, who is the chef behind Boulder Italian fine dining spot Basta and its neighboring grain-focused cafe Dry Storage as well as the robata grill restaurant The Wolf’s Tailor (for which he garnered the Beard nom) in Denver’s Sunnyside neighborhood, already opened a Colombian coffeehouse and cafe called BØH inside Free Market last May. BRUTØ was initially slated to follow soon after but will instead make its debut on Friday.

Eater previously reported that ’s centerpiece will be a Stefano Ferrara pizza oven from Naples, that will be used to make breads and whole grain dishes as well as a flatbread of the day.

The restaurant’s breads, will be made from four heirloom grains that will be milled on-site at the restaurant: Ryman Rye, Rouge de Bordeaux, Yacora Rojo, and Sonoran (the original flour tortilla grain according to BRUTØ). According to the restaurant, those grains will be sourced entirely from a 60-acre plot in the San Luis Valley.

Those grains will also be used in grain-based dishes such as farro risotto and congree, 5280 has reported. The restaurant’s menu will also be dictated by harvest and a focus on using the entire grain.

“We wanted to get back to the most simple ingredients possible, but still wanted that element of discovery,” says Whitaker. “You’re shopping in this cool space, and you come upon a restaurant that has a mill on site.”

The restaurant will also feature a raw bar that will serve raw vegetable (and grain) dishes along with seafood. 5280 also reported BRUTØ’s liquor license will also extend throughout the entire Free Market space, which will allow it to sell champagne, vermouth, and snacks from a rolling cart to shoppers.

The 40-seat dining room will be full-service, while also offering to-go ordering. The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. A happy-hour and ticketed dinner reservations will be introduced later this year.