From such great heights
Ashley Deroche, co-owner of Oscar's Tejon Street, will open ACME Bar & Grill (acmebarcolorado.com, soon) in the former Estela's Mexican Restaurant at 925 S. Eighth St. on Thursday, Feb. 19. Phil Duhon, the other half of Oscar's and long-ago chef at The Ritz and MacKenzie's Chop House, will be the lead man in the kitchen.
"We're shooting for small limited menus, good cocktails, comfort food, American classics — only the high points," she says, listing off eclectic items like handmade cheese sticks and jalapeño poppers, biscuits and gravy, lobster bisque, a sloppy joe, a ciabatta muffaletta, and a big, build-your-own salad. "We won't be locked into a cuisine type. We won't put the menu in a box."
Adds Duhon: "I guaran-damn-tee you that the food that comes out of this kitchen will knock your socks off."
As for the bar, expect classic cocktails, two beer taps and a bottle list and wine list. Atmosphere-wise, look for pool tables and darts, giant Jenga, foosball, live music and a handful of TVs with sports packages.
Chi-town to town
For five years, Ronnie Scallon operated A Taste of Chicago (atasteofchicago312.com) food truck in suburbs of the Windy City. When she moved here in September for family reasons, she wasn't planning on bringing the business with her. But like many who seek flavors of home in a new place, she couldn't find any suitable to her tastes — so she decided to create them herself. Now she's got the truck and a catering unit, and likely will add a small cart to the mix.
Scallon and a team of culinarians aim to vend on area military bases and at private events and possibly at Curbside Cuisine for limited hours down the road. Their menu will feature Chicago classics that Scallon, who's cooked for 21 years, painstakingly researched in most of the city's 77 distinct neighborhoods.
"Even if something is originally from Italy," she says, "there's a Chicago spin to it ... I worked hard to get these recipes, tasting in the best shops in Chicago."
She'll obtain authentic ingredients, from breads to cold cuts, via Denver distributors. She lists off menu items like pizza puffs or fries (calzone-like stuffed squares or french fries topped with typical pizza ingredients); Italian beef sandwiches; Polish sausages; chicken and waffles; Asian items; fish sandwiches with a special tartar-hot-sauce mixture; and the "huge" Gym Shoe Sandwich of an Italian bun with gyro meat, roast and corned beef, and another "special sauce," made famous on Chicago's west side.
"You want that exact same taste," she says. "You'll feel like you're in Chicago."
Beer (fest) here
Catch the fifth annual Winter Beer Fest at the Ute Pass Cultural Center (210 E. Midland Ave., Woodland Park, goo.gl/qrgNXk), from 5 to 9 p.m., Friday, Feb. 13. Tickets to sample from a wide range of breweries are $17.50 plus fees online, $35 at the door.