Food You Play With
Getting Down to the Basics
5 Denver Restaurant Concepts | 6 Restaurants
- • Root Down
- • Linger
- • Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox
- • Vital Root
- • El Five
Owned by Chef Justin Cucci
4,000 sq. foot gardens within Denver’s city limits
All food restrictions welcome
Opening up a new restaurant in Denver’s highly competitive market is a daunting task. Opening six new restaurants, all of which have their own unique ambiance and kitchen staff with the talent to cater to all dietary needs, sounds impossible. But New York raised Justin Cucci, restaurateur, and chef, and Colorado-local Megan Baldwin, director of operations and development, have made it happen. These two joined forces when Cucci’s flagship restaurant, Root Down, which opened its doors in 2008, had been thriving for a year. Once the business partnership began, everything else fell into place.
They created Edible Beats, a concept group with a philosophy based on locally grown, organic food, in 2009. Edible Beats ensures that the restaurants within the group are environmentally beneficial to the surrounding neighborhoods and the people who live there. Edible Beats maintains 4,000 square-feet of gardens within Denver’s city limits and their buildings run on wind-power.
“I always hope we have an opportunity and that we do things well enough that we can be an influence on surrounding businesses,” says Cucci. “Nothing would make me happier than to influence one business at a time.”
“Our goals are simple, just to do the right thing, to keep it real and to get better every day.”
Getting better includes creative freedom in the kitchen. Cucci and Baldwin have rounded up kitchen talent that is versatile and well experienced; a staff that is in-tune with the philosophy of Edible Beats.
Confidence and trust in kitchen staff have allowed for the restaurants to be accessible to all dietary restrictions at the drop of a hat. Chefs are intuitive and excited about the challenge of satisfying guests and meeting their needs.
At the core of Edible Beats is inspiration from the retired buildings that house their restaurants and building décor from upcycled design. Atmospheric décor reflects this through Root Down’s reclaimed mid-century gas station. Their restaurant Linger lives in the building that was once Olinger Mortuary, in which a 1975 GMC RV sits in place of a bar, and a repurposed food truck operates as the kitchen. Ophelia’s Electric Soap Box is nestled inside an 1894-era Victorian brownstone, surviving the changing times in Denver as a brothel turned peep show and finally an Adult Emporium, until transferring ownership to the current holder, Edible Beats.
Since opening Root Down in 2008, the concept group has blossomed as a supporter of Denver’s community while opening six other restaurants, the most recent being El Five, which opened its doors in April of this year. Having accomplished so much in less than a decade, one wonders where this growing empire will set its sights next.
Cucci says this is the time to relish in the fruits of his and the team’s labor, “Celebrating the amazing restaurants that we have, the amazing staff that we have, and amazing guests that we have. We just want to revel in getting better at serving the guest and making better food.”