July 15 2009, 9:14 AM
Last week, I received news that chef Sean Huggard had left Black Pearl and Encore, restaurants he co-owned with Steve Whited, to open his own place. The new restaurant---which will be located in an undisclosed LoDo space---will be called Newports, and will serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. While some of the larger details remain vague, Huggard has already established the price point (salads, sandwiches, burgers, steaks, and seafood will run $9 to $25), the raw bar (oysters, Cherrystone clams, sushi), and the libations (boutique wines and cocktails infused with fresh fruit juices). His neighborhood American eatery will be substantial in capacity, about 150 seats, and Huggard plans on serving simple, fresh cuisine that elevates the basics: "If I'm going to do a cheeseburger and fries, I'm going to do the best out there; it'll be hand-ground meat and hand-cut fries. If I'm doing bottomless mimosas at brunch, it'll be fresh-squeezed orange juice." Huggard had hoped for a Christmas-time opening, but he says early 2010 is more realistic.