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For years, residents of the West Highland neighborhood have been clamoring for a full-fledged specialty foods market. When Heidi’s Brooklyn Deli walked away from the mammoth corner space at 32nd and Lowell, residents actively asked Marczyk Fine Foods (the Uptown and East Colfax gourmet market that had been sniffing for a third location) to consider the site. Alas, in 2014, St. Kilian’s Cheese Shop will answer that call. Late last week, owner Jon Marsh signed a lease for the space adjacent to St. Kilian’s (the former home of Urbanistic Tea & Bike) and will double the size of his store.
With the change, the surrounding neighborhood—already a gourmet hub—will become a bonafide food procurement destination. “[We] plan on working closely with Mondo Vino, Seafood Landing, and Denver Bread Company to help build our area as a destination for food and drink,” Marsh says. Indeed, since 1999, Highland Square has been home to one of the city’s very best wine shops, Mondo Vino. Down the street, there’s long been access to a warm baguette or boule at the Denver Bread Company. Bruce Johnson added seafood to the lineup when he opened Seafood Landing in 2008. Happy Cakes Bakeshop caters to even the most discerning sweet tooth. And St. Kilian’s—first opened by Ionah DeFreitas and Hugh O’Neill in 2001 and inherited by Jon Marsh in 2011—has always been a go-to for fine cheeses, gourmet pantry items like squid ink pasta, and cured meats such as the offerings of Denver Bacon Co. Despite this wealth of artisanal choices, however, neighbors note that there isn’t a good place to buy, say, locally sourced milk and produce.
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In January, after the holiday rush, Marsh will knock down the wall between the two spaces and begin stocking Colorado eggs, milk, produce, and fresh meats from Western Daughters Butcher Shoppe, the range-fed, whole-animal butcher slated to open any day at 33rd and Tejon streets. In addition, Marsh wants to offer some cook-at-home meal kits, like prepped ingredients for pizza and pasta recipes. “Cheese and charcuterie will still be our main focus but we want to offer a more complete specialty food store,” says Marsh, who is drawing inspiration from Pastaworks in Portland, DiPasquale’s in Baltimore, and Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco.
The forthcoming construction will bring Marsh’s petite shop from 600 square feet to 1,250, and the store name will become St. Kilian’s Cheese Shop & Market. Marsh anticipates a February debut.
—Photo courtesy of St. Kilian’s