Denverites have a thing for historic dining abodes. Cases-in-point: the crowds at the new Postino in the former Compound Basix bar or at Run for the Roses in the original 1918 Windsor Farm Dairy building (now called the Dairy Block). LoDo’s Woodie Fisher, which opened in July in the 1881 landmark known as Hose House No. 1, is another restaurant honoring the history of the building it calls home. This time with fire-inspired fare.
“The menu pays homage to Woodie Fisher’s firehouse past,” says executive chef Franco Ruiz, who recently launched a new fall menu. “Mostly through touches of cold smoke and fire.” The pork short rib entrée, for instance, is confited in its own lard, then finished off with a touch of cold smoke that lends just a hint of campfire to the ultra-tender meat. Its tangy Carolina-style barbecue sauce harmonizes with the accompanying silky-smooth white corn cheddar grits.
In fact, the words “smoked” and “charred” appear often on Ruiz’s menu, which showcases an eclectic mix of entrées, salads, sandwiches, starters, and flatbreads. “I actually moved to Denver to help Drew Watson open Hops & Pie,” shares Ruiz. “Drew taught me a lot of the technique that drives our flatbreads.” Cold-aging is one such method, wherein Ruiz and his team age their dough in the walk-in refrigerator for three to five days. The result? A light, chewy, wonderfully-yeasty crust topped with the likes of charred cauliflower, Roomano Pradera cheese (an aged Gouda), sour cream, and seasonal black truffles, or roasted oyster mushrooms, guanciale, and melty fontina.
Later this winter, Ruiz’ will reimagine the menu again—something he plans to do four to five times every year to remain faithful to Woodie Fisher’s emphasis on seasonality—so head downtown to check out what’s new—and of course, what’s old—as soon as possible.
1999 Chestnut Pl., Ste. 100; Sunday–Thursday 11 a.m.–10 p.m.; Friday–Saturday 11 a.m.–11 p.m.