Front Range

The Food Network

Local agency Zenman serves the winning ingredients for Denver restaurant Web design.

May 2014

—Photo by Aaron Colussi

Frank Bonanno may be a household name in Denver, but odds are you’ve not heard of the man who Frank and his wife, Jacqueline, trust to translate their restaurant empire to the cloud: Keith Roberts, president and founder of Zenman, a full-service ad agency that focuses on branding and website design. 

When Roberts began working with the Bonannos almost a decade ago, Zenman was a team of two. Today the company employs almost 20 people and works with everyone from nonprofits to doctors’ offices. Its partnership with Bonanno Concepts’ 10-and-counting eateries, however, cemented it as a restaurant website guru. (Twenty percent of Zenman’s accounts come from food clients, including Shanahan’s Steakhouse, Fruition, and several of Breckenridge-Wynkoop’s venues.)

“The first project we did for Frank, I’d pitched all these ideas,” Roberts says. “And he’s like, ‘Look, do you know how to make a bouillabaisse from scratch?’ And I said no. And he goes, ‘Well, I don’t know anything about websites, so just make it cool.’ ”

Cool doesn’t come cheap, though. Zenman’s services start at around $10,000. Here’s a look at what dropping a few G’s gets you.

⇒ Don’t miss the panda getting drunk on sake on Bones’ “Holler” (contact) page. Zenman hand-illustrated the entire site based on the eatery’s French-meets-Japanese cuisine and animated it à la South Park.

⇒ From video of Frank Bonanno in the kitchen at Lou’s Food Bar to the mouthwatering burger pic that dominates Park Burger’s home page, Roberts calls on his background in photography to keep production in-house. The bonus, according to Roberts: “Food photography does not suck because we get to eat afterward.”

⇒ A reflection of Green Russell’s underground, speakeasy vibe, its website is a single enigmatic page. The logo’s font carries over to the branding for Russell’s Smokehouse next door.

⇒ One of the first questions Zenman asks new clients is: “If your business were a band or a song, what would it be?” The query yielded the Goosetown Tavern’s Sex Pistols–inspired, “God Save The Goose” logo and site.

⇒ The name Bonanno Brothers is a tribute to the bond between Frank Bonanno’s sons, Luca and Marco, so Zenman infused the pizzeria’s website with fun, kidlike elements—a slingshot, a robot, and plastic Army men all make appearances—in a playful, zigzag scrolling format.

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