Grinning In the Kitchen With Diners
Author: Mike Hulter
Nestled a mile above sea level like America's favorite collectible stowed safely on the top shelf of the Rocky Mountains, Boulder Colorado is one of the most quaint and attractive cities in America. Every restaurant and coffee shop seems undeniably fitting personable and unique, but for inviting ambiance and high quality food one must look no further than The Kitchen, and for those in search of something more along the lines of a cocktail lounge, one must only ascend the staircase to The Kitchen Upstairs.
With a slogan and goal of "creating community through food", the Kitchen is a charming and disarming farm to table bistro that really manages to live up to its goals. One aspect that makes this place stand out while proving itself true to its motto is the fact that Monday is Community Night, wherein customers eat family style with 20 or so other diners at a time. These ideals and ambiance efforts were not random marketing schemes, in fact they were the very core and origin of the style and content of this self described world class neighborhood restaurant.
In 2002, Kimbal Musk and Jen Lewin were walking down Pearl Street when their black lab leapt into the lap of a stranger who was sitting sipping tea at a local bistro. After profuse apologies and general small talk, they ended up making dinner plans with the stranger who ended up cooking them the best tasting and most relaxing meals of their lives. This dinner party was when and why they began brainstorming with their new found friend and chef Hugo Matheson, who would go on to partner up with Kimbal and Jen and start The Kitchen in 2004.
They named it the Kitchen to create a realm that feels like home. More specifically, they wanted to recreate the heart of home where shared food and conversation constantly creates and reinvigorates human connection. In the last 12 years, the Kitchen has become highly successful, now spanning four locations including Downtown Boulder, Denver, Fort Collins, and Chicago. In 2011, the three partners started a non-profit which in the last five years has designed and built over 200 learning gardens in Colorado, Chicago, Los Angeles and Memphis, sharing their same core philosophy of "creating community through food" with over one hundred and twenty thousand students.
Perfecting such seeming standards as the garlic fries, which customers cannot stop talking about, taking such seemingly simple dishes as tomato soup and instilling layers of flavors within it that captivate, and creating such classics as the sticky toffee pudding, Chef Hugo knows exactly what he's doing and why. The food isn't the only thing that brings in the crowds though. Many regulars find this place to be where they consistently receive the best crafted cocktails they've ever had.
Located on Pearl Street just off of 11th, less than a hundred paces from the pedestrian only brick paved portion of Pearl Street that makes up the heart of downtown Boulder, the Kitchen Upstairs carries the same relaxed outgoing positive vibe that Downtown Boulder is famous for. With its brick walls and wood floors and entry way brightly lit by natural lighting streaming in through the mostly glass facade, the Kitchen upstairs is as bright and comforting in its ambiance as one might hope to find. Sitting at a table near the front door, one might people watch the denizens of Pearl street or gaze up at Twin Sisters or South Boulder Peak in peaceful reverie.