Lon Symensma and Christopher Davis-Massey of ChoLon Restaurant Concepts (CRC) have spent the past several months planning a veritable game of restaurant musical chairs for their stable of popular Denver restaurants. And as of this morning, they’re ready to unveil the big changes they have in store.
First up: Cho77, the group’s casual Southeast Asian spot on South Broadway, will close on September 28. Devotees of its khao soi and bacon-cheeseburger dumplings, fear not—Cho77 will reopen this winter near CRC’s eight-year-old LoDo flagship, ChoLon. While the group originally intended for that space to house Kaya Kitchen (the quick-service Asian concept that debuted as a stall inside Avanti Food & Beverage in July 2017), they realized that it made more sense to “put Cho77 next to ChoLon, where it probably should have been since the beginning,” says Symensma, CRC’s executive chef and co-founder. “Cho77 was always meant to be the kid sister to ChoLon.” The new Cho77 will neighbor LeRoux, CRC’s forthcoming European-inspired restaurant.
Symensma and CRC COO/co-founder Davis-Massey have plenty of novelties in store for Cho77 2.0. When it opens this coming winter, breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all on the menu. Symensma is also developing a robust dumpling program for the new location. “Dumplings are always our number one seller, so, we thought, ‘Let’s grow that,’” he says. Denverites can look forward to “har gaw” (shrimp dumplings), baked “char siu bao” (pork buns), and other dim sum staples, as well as a breakfast soup dumpling that could just dethrone ChoLon’s beloved French onion soup dumplings. Symensma isn’t ready to reveal full details on the sure-to-be-viral breakfast soup dumpling, but he did confirm that it involves a Denver omelet and pork green chile.
Cho77’s original Baker location won’t remain shuttered for long. On October 3, CRC will reopen its doors as the first brick-and-mortar iteration of their current Avanti stall, BorraCho Tacos. Symensma and Davis-Massey believe that BorraCho’s lively tacos-and-tequila menu will appeal to the hipsters of South Broadway more than Cho77’s complex curries and Southeast Asian flavors did. The new BorraCho will feature the same inventive tacos that you find at Avanti, as well as a few ceviches, more appetizers, and some desserts.
And Kaya Kitchen? Davis-Massey reports that CRC is busy working on to-be-announced collaborative projects using the Kaya brand.
Why all of the changes? “We want to put ourselves on the map as a well-versed restaurant group,” Davis-Massey says. “We’re serious now.” Stay tuned for more as we uncover what else powerhouse CRC has in store.
Bonus: Meanwhile, ChoLon is undergoing a facelift complete with renovated bathrooms, kitchen, tables and bar tops, as well as a striking new ceiling feature over the main dining room and improved acoustics. You can check out the new look-and-feel for yourself at the official relaunch party on Thursday, October 11, when $88 will get you all-you-can-eat bites and sips. Tickets will be available through OpenTable on September 19.