A taste of Paris has arrived in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood, channeling the Place Vendôme, an historic square in Paris where locals gather. Bistro Vendôme, a beloved restaurant in Larimer Square for the past 20 years, plans to continue its goal of being a place where neighbors go for a charming atmosphere and delicious meals.
Bistro Vendôme relocated to 2267 Kearney Street in February, in the space Tables Restaurant had occupied for 17 years. The Bistro’s downtown lease was up and, although the new landlords of Larimer Square wanted the restaurant to stay, plans to gut the building meant it wouldn’t have been able to re-open for three years.
“That didn’t work for us but, as they say, one door closes and another door opens,” says Chef Jennifer Jasinski, co-owner and co-founder of Bistro Vendôme.
Diners familiar with the downtown Denver location will note different elements in the Park Hill incarnation, including the colors and décor. The new space seats up to 119 inside and on the patio. There is a larger bar space that seats 10 for both drinking and eating, a private dining room for families to have parties, and an upgraded video projection system for the popular Monday Movie Nights that pairs dinner and a French film.
Speaking to Front Porch before the restaurant officially opened, Jasinski said the new location would have “that nice, warm, comforting bistro feeling but its own feeling. It’s all windows and we had the courtyard at the old Bistro, which we don’t have here. I definitely think it will be different but equally positive. And it will absolutely feel French.”
Approximately 60 percent of Chef Jeremy Wolgamott’s menu is new. The restaurant is still offering and honoring French classics such as Moules, Pâtè Vendôme, and Steak Frites. But it is also adding new items, including dinners for two such as Half Duck à l’Orange and Whole Striped Bass En Papillote.
The cuisine of France is currently enjoying increased popularity in Colorado, with several new restaurants opening up after years of there being only a few, including Bistro Vendome’s two-decade legacy. Jasinski chalks that up to the classical nature of the food.
“Our little Bistro Vendôme in Larimer Square did really well serving classic French food in a relaxed environment through all the culinary turmoil around us,” says Jasinski. “French technique is the basis for so many other cuisines. Maybe chefs and restaurateurs are rediscovering the pleasures of French food that we’ve celebrated all along.”
Moving out of Larimer Square means no longer being across the street from Rioja, the first restaurant Jasinski opened. Being so close together enabled the two restaurants to help each other out if something was needed. Her parent company, Crafted Concepts restaurant group, also owns Ultreia and Stoic & Genuine, located at Denver Union Station.
The Larimer Square location also provided business from convention and theater traffic. But Jasinski isn’t concerned about losing that, feeling that the Park Hill neighborhood is an underserved area in need of more restaurants.
“I think our strategy (here) is what it is anywhere—have a really good product that people love and give them a place where they want to go and drive to,” she says. “Yes, we don’t have that walk-in convention business or the theater crowd but we’re ready for more families. We’re trying to look at everything as an opportunity,” says Jasinski. “Of course, we’ll miss the old place but we’re looking at the positives.”
Jasinski loves the Park Hill neighborhood and felt good about moving into the spot that Tables Restaurant had occupied for so long.
“The previous owners have a really good reputation and it was a very well-loved spot. We liked that about it—that there was a positive energy versus sometimes people buy restaurants that have been three restaurants in the past and they all failed. We liked the positive vibe—it seemed right,” she says.
What Jasinski and her partners didn’t want to do was to come into the situation “with ego,” as she puts it, by assuming what diners want, instead saying that they’ll listen and evolve to the needs of the neighborhood.
The chef and entrepreneur credits her decades of success in the restaurant business to tenacity, providing great experiences, and understanding the nitty gritty of making it work.
“Any restaurant that makes it will tell you it’s about good food, good hospitality, and people who know how to run a business,” says Jasinski.
As for this new location of Bistro Vendôme, which is the first time Jasinski has relocated one of her restaurants, she and her team are looking forward to meeting their new neighbors.
“We’re hoping that people come in and we’ll do a good job and they’ll say ‘Yay, we have a new favorite restaurant to go to!’”
Bistro Vendôme is open for dinner every day and for brunch on Saturday and Sunday. https://bistrovendome.com
Front Porch photos by Christie Gosch