House Chef's house
Robert Brunet launched his traveling The House Chef brand locally in April 2010, having left New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina. Then earlier this year he opened The House Chef Shoppe at 50 S. Sierra Madre St. as a light breakfast spot and grab-and-go market. In mid-July, he jumped to 6620-B Delmonico Drive to set up his own prep space (he formerly worked out of Gotta Love It! Kitchen), and just a month ago, he opened a full-service restaurant there called Momma Pearl's Cajun Kitchen (mommapearls.com).
Aside from also providing food for neighboring Cleats Bar and Grill, Brunet serves all three meals daily (except for breakfast-only on Sundays). The menu blends American staples like burgers and classic breakfast plates with traditional Cajun and Big Easy items, ranging from beignets and Creole seafood omelets to po-boys, gumbo, etouffee and fried catfish. Brunet also incorporates some of his own recipes, like his signature white chocolate croissant bread pudding, and he sells a custom coffee blended and roasted locally by Mission Coffee Roasters.
A perkier Perk
Manager Michael Hylands of Pikes Perk Coffee & Tea House (5965 N. Academy Blvd., pikesperkcolorado.com) says the store remains in the midst of a rebranding process that already includes a new logo and website. Soon it'll take aim at "a more developed" live-music scene, organizing a local-focused business alliance not unlike Colorado Local First and incorporating new-to-the-Perk coffee service such as a pour-over bar.
"We're trying to figure out new avenues to make us unique," he says, noting owner Ruth Hoerner's vision for "what modern shops are like."
A brief history on the Perk: It opened in 1996 and was bought by roaster Rick Roehrman in 2002. Roehrman's responsible for the more-than-half-dozen franchises and related satellites that popped up around town in the following few years, all of which folded in the recession — or were sold and rebranded, as in the case of The Perk Downtown — save for a kiosk at the airport and Keva Juice drive-thru in Southgate. He continues to roast and consult for Hoerner (who bought this spot last October) and prepare beans for about a dozen eateries around town.
As for those pour-overs, Hylands says they'll likely phase in with the house roasts, allowing customers to taste the difference between pour and drip methods, but expand to include lauded brews such as Jamaican Blue Mountain or Kona estate coffees.
À la carte
• The Peak Grill, one of the many businesses hurt by the Waldo Canyon Fire, recently closed at 4423 Centennial Blvd.
• Boonzaaijer's Dutch Bakery (dutchpastry.com) recently moved from 4935 Centennial Blvd. to 610 E. Fillmore St. An employee says "we're doing so much better over here," noting that they purchased the building.