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Located on the bustling corner of Downing Street and Alameda Avenue, three-week-old Café Marmotte is easy to miss. But anyone who has travelled through Telluride might do a double take as they speed through the intersection. “Why is that name familiar?”
The cafe is the younger sibling of La Marmotte, a French bistro that has reigned in Telluride for nearly three decades. Owned and operated by husband and wife team Mark Reggiannini and Mairen Reagan, La Marmotte’s comforting and traditional fare has earned a glowing reputation from Telluride locals and visitors alike. That reputation has followed the restaurateurs to Denver.
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“We were so surprised!” Regiannini says. “A lot of the customers we saw in the first week were people who have dined with us in Telluride for years.” As a matter of fact, one of the cafe’s staffers has been dining at La Marmotte since he was four years old; it was his father’s favorite restaurant.
The differences between Café Marmotte and its older sibling are minimal. The style of the dishes—traditional and delightfully simple—will remain the same, although the ingredients might vary slightly. Reggiannini, who grew up in Boston, is excited to be in a city again. “As charming as Telluride is, there’s so much to look forward to in Denver,” he says.
After tasting the food (and sipping a Champagne cocktail), it’s clear why this French gem has such a following. The playful “Steak & Eggs, Bacon & Eggs, Ham & Eggs” appetizer, which features steak tartare, crispy pork belly, and prosciutto atop three deviled eggs, is a delight, and the signature coq au vin is simple, yet wonderful. The tender, wine-soaked chicken is easy to coax onto the fork, and pairs well with the bacon-mashed potatoes, pearl onions, melted red cabbage, and a glass of Bordeaux. As for dessert, Marmotte’s Tahitian vanilla bean crème brûlée with a Gran Marnier tuile did not disappoint.
Café Marmotte doesn’t hide behind an uppity or pretentious façade, instead the cozy dining room feels like home, the staff is friendly, and the food is everything it promises to be.
290 Downing St., 303-999-0395