The name “Kevin Taylor” and the concept of a casual, family-friendly beer garden don’t immediately jive. Taylor’s collection of restaurants, including Kevin Taylor’s at the Opera House and Palettes Contemporary Cuisine, are known for luxury with china, linens, table service and fancy cuisine. He says his plans for a beer hall that will straddle Stapleton and NW Aurora will remain true to his high standards but will have a feel and price point the community will welcome.
Talks with Taylor originally revolved around a beer garden in the Eastbridge neighborhood of Stapleton before the Stanley Marketplace option evolved. Whereas the Eastbridge concept was going to be a freestanding, new-build from the ground up, Taylor describes the Stanley project as “much more of a community center with more synergy with the other vendors (in the building).” Taylor’s restaurant will also provide food service for the events hall in Stanley.
Taylor welcomes the neighborhood diversity that the Stanley location affords. “It’s right there in the middle of the communities, not just of Stapleton and Aurora but also the medical campus and all the residential areas around it. The whole idea behind it is this great community,” he says.
The restaurant’s design will play off of the open, industrial architecture of the former Stanley Aviation building as well as its location at the southwest corner of the property offering sunshine and views of the mountains and a park, which will also be part of the Stanley Marketplace development.
Taylor says the format won’t be the typical beer garden where diners order at a counter, get “buzzed” that their order is ready to be picked up and sit at picnic tables. He says the menu will have more options than the typical sausages and pretzels. “We’ll serve very high-end food but reasonably priced with table service.” The exact details of the menu will be finalized early next year but Taylor says items will top out at $15 with plenty of options below $10 and will include local craft beer and wine and locally sourced food as much as possible.
Taylor believes he can provide high-quality food at reasonable prices. “We’ll approach a hamburger like you would a piece of fois gras—it’s driven by quality ingredients,” he says. “In a luxury restaurant, it’s ingredient driven, of course, but it’s also the china, glassware, silverware and all of that, that is an added expense.” He describes the new restaurant as being “stripped down.” “There’s absolutely no reason we can’t knock people’s socks off with the menu and have it be approachable.”
After 27 years in the luxury restaurant environment, Taylor says the clientele for that kind of restaurant is shrinking. “Casual, approachable restaurants are the future,” he says, adding “If your business plan is correct, you can provide high-end, quality food that is approachable to the masses.”
Slated to open in 2015, with permitting and initial demolition planned for the first part of the year, Taylor says menu specifics and a lot of other elements are still in the planning stages. “We’ve been through a lot of hurdles, designs and a lot of work. But we have plenty of time to do this correctly.”