It was a bold move for the team behind the Way Back and American Grind to take over the former Zengo space in Riverfront Park last year and transform it into seasonally-inspired Wayward. Not only was the sprawling restaurant far larger than anything the group had previously attempted, so too were the ambitious, sustainability-oriented dinner and brunch menus. After eight months, Wayward will shutter on Sunday, April 15.
“We took a big chance as a young restaurant group and it didn’t work,” says Jared Schwartz, who, along with Chad Michael George and Kade Gianinetti is one of three partners at Wayward. “We are definitely proud of it. We built a great team and gave our guests great service, but in the end, it wasn’t enough and we had to cut our losses.”
Wayward opened last August with chef Patrick Kelly, formerly of Panzano, at its helm. Two months later, Kelly was gone; his successor Talia Diele was named executive chef in November. Diele and her husband, Peter Gordon, who served as general manager, had big plans for Wayward, including opening a farm in Carbondale in collaboration with the restaurant’s ownership. That farm is still on the back burner: “It is not something that is off the table. We just have not talked about it in a long time since we tried to figure out what to do with this restaurant first,” Schwartz says.
The Wayward team plans to continue running the space where they’ve been holding a series of themed pop-up bars, including a Christmas bar, an Olympics bar, and, most recently, a spring break bar. A rebrand is in the works, but Schwartz says there is no concrete plan on what’s next outside of simply trying to serve the needs of the neighborhood.
Regardless, Schwartz confirmed that American Grind, the trio’s burger concept currently housed in RiNo’s Avanti Food & Beverage, will get its own brick and mortar location in Wash Park this fall. And the recently reopened the Way Back, now located on Tennyson Street, is going strong.
Sunday brunch will be Wayward’s last service.
1610 Little Raven Street, 720-429-8300