Dining

Garden Party

Under Potager's vine-covered pergola, savor the sights and smells of this seasonal-inspired kitchen.

July 2009

Under Potager's vine-covered pergola, savor the sights and smells of this seasonal-inspired kitchen.

When chef-owner Teri Rippeto opened her Capitol Hill restaurant in 1997, she built a garden pergola—a combination of a trellis and an arbor—and planted an assortment of climbing plants around the base. Twelve years later, the vegetation has become so entwined that the midsummer honeysuckle and clematis blooms are inseparable from the strands of silver lace ivy. Under this natural canopy sits a single wooden table, lit delicately by lanterns, where diners can best enjoy Rippeto's seasonal dishes.

Potager's constantly changing menu reflects the same whimsical and fresh attitude that Rippeto embraced when she landscaped the garden patio. To wit: An appetizer of Colorado-grown nectarines stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in pancetta tastes just-picked and unscripted. Quiz your server about staff favorites—they'll know which produce is in peak form and will even make suggestions for dishes that are best enjoyed en plein air.

To ensure your spot under the pergola, arrive early—6 p.m. would be a safe bet—because Potager doesn't take reservations and the patio is coveted. Fortunately, once you're seated, the waitstaff lets you settle in for a leisurely paced dinner. Time it right and you can savor the golden hour—that magical 60 minutes of soft light before the sun sets—as the garden begins to resemble a scene from Frances Hodgson Burnett's children's classic The Secret Garden. Nestled in the back corner, savor the apricot undertones of a glass of the Palladino Moscato d'Asti, and take in the bloom-laden view.

1109 Ogden St., 303-832-5788