The Local newsletter is your free, daily guide to life in Colorado. For locals, by locals. Sign up today!
If there’s one thing sure to irk a designer attempting to transform a patio into a beautiful outdoor room, it’s that ever-present eyesore, the barbecue grill. That’s one problem Boulder entrepreneur Ben West set out to solve with Spark Grills, a fashion-forward new take on the old-school charcoal grill that features a modern, porcelain-enameled-steel shell (currently available in a matte charcoal finish, with cream, sage, and navy options coming later this year) paired with an attached bamboo chopping board. The other problem: the imprecision, mess, and all-around hassle of cooking with charcoal. That one West solved by partnering with food and biomass scientists in Boulder to create proprietary natural wood and charcoal “Briqs” (available in hickory and apple-wood flavors, among others) that ignite and heat up more quickly than traditional charcoal—to oven-precise temperatures ranging from 200–900 degrees Fahrenheit—and clean up in a snap. For even more convenience, he added created the Spark app that alerts busy chefs when the grill is up to temperature and when foods are perfectly cooked. A $799 pre-order special (available online until August) includes grill, bamboo cutting board, and 20 charcoal Briqs (otherwise priced from $4–$6 per Briq); in August, the grill’s price will increase to $949.
Denver native Melissa Gallic launched her business Union Stitch & Design when Denver chef and restaurateur Jennifer Jasinski challenged her to design an apron tough enough to stand up to the busy kitchen at Larimer Square eatery, Rioja. Gallic’s sturdy-yet-comfy creation—which features plenty of pockets for kitchen tools, towels, cell phones, and more—passed that test, and we’re guessing it’ll be a winner in your outdoor kitchen, too. Gallic still makes each apron by hand, to your specifications: Options include size, strap configuration (cross-back or over-neck), strap color (natural or black), and fabric color (blue or gray herringbone, black or gray canvas, or indigo denim); further customization is available upon request. $75 each; kids’ versions are available for $30 each.
Give One Year of 5280 for just $16.
You’ve got the spice rub thing down—and if you don’t, follow Denver chef Frank Bonanno’s lead and make one of the Spice Guy’s locally made blends your go-to. Now, how about some handmade spoons to measure up just the right amount? Calli Swofford, owner of Denver lifestyle boutique Miller Lane Mercantile, sourced the perfect set from British Columbia maker Madison Etheridge of MLKANHNY, who uses raw brass to create each spoon’s subtly hammered bowl and easy-to-grasp, textured double handle. Each set includes five different measurements. $96/set of five.
Linen towels for an outdoor kitchen? Here’s why: They’re more durable and absorbent than their cotton counterparts, and they look better after every use—just machine wash in warm water, no bleach. Bonus points: These towels, available at the Golden Triangle floral studio and retail boutique Sacred Thistle, are woven in Armentières, France, which has been known as the “cité de la toile” (city of the fabric) since the Middle Ages—a fun fact to ponder as you’re wiping those drippy, saucy fingers. Choose from blue, mustard, ochre, or natural linen with red or blue stripes; $28 each.
A “grand feu” firing at 2,850 degrees Fahrenheit causes the clays that comprise this stoneware serving dish and fluted bowl to become vitrified (that is, fused into a nonporous, glass-like material), making them “extra-durable and perfect for a barbecue,” says Dory Pratt, who imports the pieces from France to her Cherry Creek boutique Homebody. “I picture this set with some kebabs and a delicious dipping sauce.” The Sharing Paon Oval Dish ($139) measures about 15.5 inches long and 10 inches wide, and is finished in a dreamy shade of teal. The Sharing Brique Cup Petale bowl ($56) has a diameter of 6.6 inches and a soft, terracotta finish.