Play at the Penrose Room
The city's most-lauded restaurant, The Penrose Room at the Broadmoor (1 Lake Ave., broadmoor.com), has appointed a new chef de cuisine: Greg Vassos.
The 35-year-old most recently owned his own Philadelphia eatery called Racine, which he describes as farm-to-table focused with a four-course, daily-changing menu. Prior to that he was executive chef at L'Escalier at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida, and the sous chef for Blue by Eric Ripert in The Ritz-Carlton in the Cayman Islands. He's also cooked at the James Beard House and staged at famed spots early in his career, including the French Laundry and Alinea.
He points to a virtually complete menu overhaul (all but caviar and the house Caesar salad), calling it "the most important thing for me in coming to the Penrose Room — [to bring] a breath of fresh air. From having been more classical, it's more modern now. Not in a crazy sense ... it's up-to-date. My main thing is that I want people to have fun. It's five stars, but it shouldn't be a stuffy experience, it should be memorable ... create conversation, and make people want to come back in February for the next menu change."
Dining options still include à la carte service or nightly tasting menus: $82 for three courses per person; $94 for four; and $132 for seven, with available up-charges for wine pairings.
Vassos, who joins a team led by Broadmoor executive chef Bertrand Bouquin, says he'll source as much local food as possible in season, while "always pushing ourselves — how can we improve a dish from today to tomorrow? ... This is what I love to do, it's where my passion is."
The Local food truck, which has been on hiatus since 2013's end, and for sale as well, has found a new home as part of Seeds Community Café (109 E. Pikes Peak Ave., seedscommunitycafe.com).
According to former co-owner Jo Marini, the truck and business, menu included, was donated to the "worthy cause," with no money changing hands. "I don't know if it's ever been about the money," says Marini. "The truck was our first baby," ahead of Fifty Fifty Coffee House, she says, and "we're just glad for Lyn [Harwell] to run it."
According to Harwell, "The plan is to maintain the integrity of The Local, branding it 'The Local by Seeds.' We want to turn people on to good, healthy food and preserve the continuity that Jo and Sarah built. We may add a few things, like our kale salad, and we may go to schools to teach kids about healthy cooking and healthy food on the mission side, to complement our catering. ... We'll be out there soon. We'll keep The Local local and keep it going."