As he tours around his newest restaurant, Concourse Restaurant Moderne, slated to open mid- to late-April in Eastbridge, chef and restaurateur Lon Symensma points out the layout of the kitchen that offers better flow for staff. The layout also gives the dining room more space and nicer views for guests because of the angles of the tables. “You learn a thing or two with each new restaurant and figure out what works best,” he says.
This is the first non-Asian-inspired restaurant Symensma and his partner, Chief Operating Officer Christopher Massey, have opened. They describe Concourse as being progressive American with European techniques and local ingredients.
The name Concourse is inspired by Stapleton’s history as Denver’s first airport, but Symensma also cites the definition: “‘A large, open area inside or in front of a public building as in an airport or train station. Or, a crowd or assembly of people.’ You could almost add the word ‘restaurant’ in there and have the same definition—it’s an area where people gather together.”
Executive Chef and co-owner Luke Bergman moved from New York to work with Symensma on this project. Now a Stapleton resident, they met while working in 4-star Manhattan restaurants, perfecting classical French cooking techniques. “We figured if we opened a restaurant in Colorado with all of the beautiful produce and such that was available, we’d base it on our backgrounds,” says Bergman.
Concourse will be open all day, with fast-casual breakfast items served from the pastry counter at the front of the restaurant. Lunch, dinner and weekend brunch will be full-service. “The idea in the morning is to grab a pastry and some coffee, read the paper, catch up with the locals,” says Bergman. “At lunch, we’ll tend to feed more of the people strolling the area or coming from the CrossFit gym or Pilates studio, serving a more healthy fare. Then at dinner, we transition into requiring reservations (but some walk-ins) where entrees are served family-style so everyone can order different things and share if they want.” Bergman says brunch will be a time to relax on a day off enjoying bottomless mimosas, Bloody Marys, sandwiches and egg dishes.
Everything will be made from scratch, in-house including pastas, sauces, bread and fresh-pressed juices. Many items can be adapted to address gluten-free and allergen needs of guests.
The father of two, Bergman is keenly aware of making Concourse’s menu approachable for families with a kids’ menu available all day. While breakfast, lunch and brunch are most appropriate for families, kids are welcome at dinner too.
Although Symensma and Massey are the driving force behind Concourse, diners will primarily see Bergman and General Manager Jose Rodriguez on a day-to-day basis. Rodriguez, who has worked at Symensma’s other restaurants says, “Luke and I are going to be the glue putting it all together every day.”
Symensma feels Concourse Restaurant Moderne will bring something different to Denver. “You need chefs like this to come in from a different city where they already made a name for themselves and elevate things without coming in and saying, ‘We’re going to charge you inflated prices.’ We’re bringing in some big city flair!” Feeling Stapleton has been underserved in terms of restaurant options, he adds, “We want to be a neighborhood eatery. It’s starving out here for something like this.”