New Denver Restaurant The Greenwich Brings New York to RiNo
Get a table ASAP.
“It’s a little slice of New York City in Denver.” That sentiment could be, and is, applied to any number of local places you can probably think of offhand—a pizza parlor here, a delicatessen there, that dive bar where Giants fans congregate on game days. But as of now, it might best be reserved for The Greenwich in RiNo. In the airy two-story space that, somewhat ironically, used to house the ode to genteel Southern living that was Julep, restaurateur Delores Tronco has created a guaranteed hot spot that pays chic yet stirring tribute to its New York namesake.
The story behind it is admittedly bittersweet. If Tronco’s name sounds familiar, it’s probably because she co-founded the enduringly popular Work & Class just down the street before moving to New York to open—you guessed it—a bastion of Southwestern cuisine in Greenwich Village. Called The Banty Rooster, it made quite the splash there before the pandemic forced its untimely closure, at which point Tronco became something of a spokespersonfor the cause of small business owners, decrying the short-sightedness of relentless landlords while promising to relocate here. Along the way, the concept of the restaurant evolved as concepts do, coming to represent instead a piece of her life in the Village—right down to her close friendship with famed street photographer Ricky Powell, who died earlier this year.
In fact, remove the kitchen and bar, and The Greenwich would impress nonetheless as a New York–themed art gallery. On the wall opposite the entrance, a mural by local talent Austin Zucchini-Fowler recreates some of Powell’s most notorious shots (take the one of a young and spaced-out Cindy Crawford). Inside, his framed works include a rare portrait of the Beastie Boys, while pen-and-ink illustrations of Manhattan’s skyline, wallpaper depicting its myriad storefronts, and a Basquiat lithograph further enhance the urbane vibe, all clean lines and a striking mix of warm and cool tones.
Luckily, the kitchen and the bar remain intact, which is where executive chef Justin Freeman comes in. He himself is a bit of a New York story, having grown up in the Hudson Valley and cooked at such prominent establishments as Nobu, Seamore’s, and Upland; now he’s overseeing a contemporary American menu that packs a whole lot of punch for its small size and seeming simplicity. For starters, juicy roasted clams pop in a lemony broth enriched with garlic-scape butter alongside crusty house-baked bread; other appetizers and side dishes also reveal Freeman’s taste for the wonderfully pungent, be it a chicory salad in anchovy vinaigrette with fried garlic or the addictive, crispy-soft thrice-cooked potatoes piled atop a schmear of ’nduja mayo. Main courses include a fabulous three-cheese white pie, served with a ramekin of green chile for drizzling or dipping, as well as an impeccable roast chicken accompanied by warm squash ribbons and pumpkin seed–lime sauce. And then there’s the cheesecake—a giant, brûléed wedge of creamy nostalgia.
Tronco herself is in charge of the bar program, which starts with cocktails that continue the motif via names like The Bowery and Alphabet City (the latter featuring mezcal and apricot liqueur); both New York and Colorado breweries, meanwhile, are represented in the small selection of craft beers. And as for the wine list, it promises to serve as yet another exhibit in the increasingly strong case for Denverites’ adventurousness when it comes to grapes as well as grains: Look especially for cool blends like Cinasult/País from southern Chile’s Itata Valley, Ugni Blanc/Viognier from the Rhône Valley of France, and Austrian Zweigelt/Pinot Noir from Burgenland.
You know what they say about New York: If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. With The Greenwich, Tronco’s already proving it.