Coloradoans are all about keeping things local from food to goods to music and businesses. If it’s local, people feel better about spending their time, money and efforts there. And when “local” goes so far as to mean neighbors, all the better. How fortuitous then that the latest batch of businesses to be announced in the Eastbridge Town Center all have a neighborhood connection.
Chef Troy Guard, owner of Los Chingones and a yet-unnamed breakfast/lunch restaurant
Restaurateur Troy Guard has a collection of restaurants around the city. But when he opens two more in the Eastbridge Town Center, it will mark the first time he’ll have restaurants in his own neighborhood, where he lives just blocks away. Guard will open a breakfast/lunch concept restaurant that has yet to be named and Los Chingones, a Mexican taqueria with a rooftop patio and expansive views.
When he envisions the restaurants and the Town Center open, Guard pictures a fun, busy atmosphere where people know each other, share tables and feel like it’s their place. It’s something he wants for himself and his own family. “Restaurants bring the best out of everyone, I think.”
Guard expects and welcomes feedback from the neighborhood. “I like to think I’m going to have a lot more texts and phone calls saying ‘Hey, you should put this on the menu’ or ‘We didn’t have a good experience and this is why’ and I like that.”
While there’s always pressure to do well with any of his restaurants, Guard says there is a little bit more pressure with the Eastbridge restaurants. “Now I have a reputation to live up to. I want to be very proud of it,” he says. “I live out here and know what it’s like. I know the people and people are waiting for something like this.”
Chris Lindley, owner, Endorphin
When they open, the two locations of Endorphin at the Stanley Marketplace and at Eastbridge will mark the business’s ninth and tenth locations but the first so close to home for Chris Lindley and his family. The Eastbridge location will offer hot yoga and a barre studio while the Stanley location will include kids’ gymnastics and an adult high-intensity fitness studio space. He sees the two locations as a nice complement to each other.
Lindley, who is also a firefighter, is looking forward to getting his neighbors to go work out with him. “People want convenience and like to go somewhere close that they can walk or ride to. That’s a big appeal. We’re happy to be right in the middle of it now,” he says. Lindley is also glad to offer an option for people at the Anschutz campus, especially those working at the VA hospital since Lindley is a Bronze Star-decorated Iraq War veteran.
Lindley is looking forward to working with his neighboring businesses in Eastbridge including Pilates Evolution Stapleton. “It’s just another opportunity for people to move and any type of movement is better than no movement. So we’d always be
supportive of any neighboring business that’s also offering healthy movement options.”
Natalie McLaren, owner, Pilates Evolution Stapleton
Natalie McLaren agrees and looks forward to potentially partnering with Lindley whose workouts, she feels, can go hand-in-hand with hers. “I definitely don’t think we’re competition,” she says. “People will have choices so that will be great.”
With a location in Cherry Creek that she opened in 2008, McLaren is looking forward to bringing her workouts to her own neighborhood under the name Pilates Evolution Stapleton. Her workouts are a new evolution of pilates (thus the name) that combines cardio and strength training with pilates.
When McLaren, who had wanted to open a location in Stapleton where she lives with her family, heard the concept of the Eastbridge project, she knew it was the right opportunity. “I like that it’s people from the neighborhood and Denver and not chains. It’s a nice feeling of community over there.” In addition to having friends and neighbors come work out (and potentially teach too), McLaren is also looking forward to getting to know her fellow tenants. “We’re all in the same boat; we all live around here and want to be successful. It’s going to be amazing and it’s going to create a very cool vibe.”
Jonah Bradley and Brian Tepp, owners of a yet-to-be-named business
McLaren already knows one of her neighboring tenants, friend Jonah Bradley who, along with husband, Brian Tepp, currently own Wild Flowers in Congress Park. The Park Hill residents haven’t decided on a name for the new business but it will include “by Wild Flowers” to maintain a connection.
Like their current location, the new one will be a garden, gift and home shop carrying everything from houseplants to jewelry to candles and unique greeting cards. Local artisans will be featured. “We try to focus on the little guys in the neighborhood selling neighborhood goods,” says Bradley. “We value the entrepreneurial spirit, so when we can develop a partnership with them, it works really well.”
Bradley hopes neighborhood kids will come in to feed the fish they’ll have at the front of the store, like neighborhood kids do now in Congress Park. “We’d love to create a place where people come in, visit, feed the fish and do their rounds.” He feels it’s the relationships that have an impact in the community. “We’ve created relationships with our clientele,” says Bradley. “That’s something we’re hoping to see at Stapleton as well.”
Lon Symensma, Executive Chef/Owner of a yet-to-be-named restaurant
With successful Asian restaurants ChoLon Bistro and Cho77 under his belt, Lon Symensma is ready to take on something new—American cuisine. Although the name of the new venture isn’t quite set, his vision for the restaurant is. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the Executive Chef/Owner says there will be coffee, a juice bar, hot breakfast items and pastries at breakfast and soup, salad and sandwiches at lunch. “We’re really going to hone in on the neighborhood and what their wants, needs and expectations are and deliver a concept that people will want to come to frequently.” At dinner, Symensma wants the restaurant to become a destination, drawing people from all over the city to see what’s happening at Stapleton.
Although Symensma doesn’t live in the area, his new Chef de Cuisine, Luke Bergman, will be moving to Stapleton with his family as the project nears completion. Symensma says that combining his own talents with Bergman’s, whose resume includes some of Manhattan’s best Michelin-star-rated restaurants, will add another layer not only to Stapleton but to Denver and Colorado as a whole. “There are some heavy hitters that will be in this whole development,” he says. “It’s a project that’s going to draw some attention and culinary talent to the Stapleton area.”
Colin Ness, director of operations, The Kitchen Next Door
The Kitchen Next Door will add to its collection of restaurants with the new location in the Eastbridge Town Center. Director of Operations Colin Ness lives in Stapleton as does the restaurant’s Culinary Director, Merlin Verrier. Their insider understanding of the community helped them tailor the restaurant to appeal to the broadest audience possible. “I know the community has a lot of families so we kept that in mind when we designed the restaurant. We want to be the default place people always feel comfortable going to.”
The restaurant will serve traditional pub fare plus sandwiches and salads, all using mostly organic, locally-sourced ingredients including beef sourced from a local ranch.
When Ness envisions what it will be like when the Kitchen Next Door and the entire Eastbridge project is open, he describes “a vibrant community where kids are playing in the common area while parents relax and linger over their meal on the patio or people watching sports, on a date or hanging out with friends. There’s going to be a sense of place that will encourage people to linger and enjoy the environment that’s been created by the physical building but also the energy from each of the restaurants. I really feel like people are going to want to spend time there.”