In traveling Europe and doing research for Olive & Finch, the cafe chef-owner Mary Nguyen opened in December, Nguyen became increasingly frustrated by how local and national restaurateurs have bastardized the term “bistro.” On May 15, Nguyen will attempt to reclaim the European export by opening P17, a true neighborhood bistro in place of Parallel Seventeen. “P17” will no longer refer to Parallel Seventeen but instead reflect Nguyen’s mission of serving a concise, casual, and affordable menu with 17 plates and a modest wine list.
This change has been percolating for about a year. And a quick glance at Parallel Seventeen’s menu indicates the shift was in plain sight: The once modern Vietnamese restaurant began serving fresh seafood dishes along with Thai- and Indian-influenced plates. Over its eight and a half years, Nguyen says, Parallel Seventeen has evolved into a more serious restaurant with a lengthy menu and a muddled concept.
With P17, Nguyen wants to create a spot that is casual and family-friendly—the kind of place where you could eat every night. Look for dishes such as the roasted half-chicken with potatoes, wilted kale, and velouté sauce; and a lamb burger with harissa and manchego on a brioche bun. In essence, the bistro will function as Olive & Finch’s more refined, full-service sister. “I don’t want P17 to be the best restaurant,” Nguyen says. “I want it to be the favorite restaurant.”
Instead of closing for a couple of days, Nguyen will make the necessary changes over the next week. The interior will become lighter, brighter, and less cluttered (no more Buddhas, parasols, etc.), and the new website, P17Denver.com, will go live on May 12.
Insider tip: Nguyen’s famed Vietnamese pho will be one menu holdover.
1600 E. 17th Ave., 303-399-0988