After years of being largely ignored by the national media, Denver’s restaurant scene is on a roll with at least one major post: enjoy your food. For obvious reasons, the magazine skipped its annual “Hot 10” list of the country’s best new restaurants in 2020, preferring to publish a variety of stories as an ode to restaurants in general.
In 2019, The Wolf’s Tailor landed on the magazine’s top ten list, while Reunion Bread Co. and Beckon, brother’s neighboring tasting menu-style restaurant and 2018 winner “Hot 10” Call (which is currently closed) both peaked fifty. In 2017, Annette and Denver Central Market each landed a spot among the fifty finalists. And before that … Denver hadn’t played much in the pages of enjoy your food.
This year, the “Hot 10” has been replaced by a new award: Heads of the Table, which honors “the restaurants, people and organizations that have given us hope,” says the story’s introduction . Twelve winners were chosen, including Sullivan Scrap Kitchen, which opened in July 2020 at 1740 East 17th Avenue in the former Bocaza Mexican Grille space (and quickly grabbed our best burger award in Best of Denver 2021).
“We were really, like totally shocked,” says Terence Rogers, who owns the restaurant with his wife, Holly Adinoff, of the enjoy your food honor. “We were super happy about it. We couldn’t believe it at first.”
This is Rogers and Adinoff’s first restaurant, and it has a seemingly simple concept: it focuses on sustainability and zero waste, an idea that has formed naturally over time.
Rogers, originally from the Boston area, got his first restaurant job as a prep cook at a Vermont pizzeria – a job he took to earn money while working as a ski resort photographer . “I was awful,” Rogers says of his first shifts as a line cook. “But I really enjoyed it.”
After returning to Boston, Rogers got a job at a food truck where the chef mentored him, teaching him new skills, including how to make gnocchi – which Adinoff, whom Rogers had recently met, named as his dish. prefer. Yes, those gnocchi are one of the reasons they’re married today, Adinoff admits.
Eventually, Rogers began creating pop-ups in Boston himself, which led to catering gigs for private events. In the summer of 2016, Rogers and Adinoff moved to Estes Park for the summer and decided to move to Denver this fall. Rogers slowly started to find restaurant jobs again, eventually succeeding in that space. But one thing kept bothering him. “It’s like, ‘What am I going to do with the rest of this piece of bread?’” He explains. “Sure I could compost it and it won’t end up in landfills and it’s great, but it’s totally edible.”
As the couple searched for a space to use as a commissary for the catering business, potentially with a storefront to help offset the cost of buying or renting, Rogers thought back to the lessons he had learned during an internship. at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. At New York. “I really saw how they treated a vegetable like a lot of places would treat a piece of meat,” he says, using every part and not throwing away any bruised or imperfect product, instead finding other uses for them. He was also inspired by a restaurant called Relae in Copenhagen and its sister restaurant across the street, Manfreds, which are said to use ingredients in a crossover fashion.
The Sullivan Scrap Kitchen concept grew out of several elements, including the Small Business Association’s 504 loan program which made buying, rather than renting, restaurant space more affordable, giving Rogers and Adinoff a better security as they grow their business.
The percentage of income on the catering side of the farm and on the restaurant side fluctuates seasonally, each complementing each other. Using leftovers and finding ways to reuse ingredients allows Rogers to continue using high-quality local produce and meats while keeping the menu price low. “I think it fits our mission,” Adinoff notes, “because we are sustainable in our food practices but also in our communities – it means local partners, but it also means feeding the people who are close to us.”
Rogers and Adinoff aren’t sure what to expect with this new national focus. “We are so honored to be a part of it,” says Rogers, “but we had no idea how things were going to turn out.”
What they do know is that their focus on sustainability will continue to evolve over time. “We realize this is not the end of the road,” he explains. “We still have a lot of work to do, and we can always keep getting better and better, making better food, having a better customer experience and really trying to focus more and more on our mission.”
Then: a Palisade wine list, discounts for teachers and staff at the nearby school, an event with Slow Food, a collaboration with the Zero Foodprint association and more.
“We want to continue to find ways to complement what we do,” Rogers said.
“And we’re always trying to educate people,” adds Adinoff.
And so you can expect to find out more about this couple, the latest names that deserve some deserved attention in this city’s restaurant scene.