Today, Chef/Owner Troy Guard opens his highly anticipated eighth restaurant concept, Mister Tuna, in Denver’s up-and-coming River North Art District (RiNo). Named after Guard’s father, Mister Tuna celebrates “Ohana”—a Hawaiian term meaning “family,” and the foundational spirit in which the restaurant is built upon. The American-Eclectic menu, designed to bring people together, is inspired by Guard’s memories of cooking outdoors in Hawaii and influenced by Colorado’s agricultural bounty. This is the tenth restaurant in the TAG Restaurant Group portfolio, which also includes TAG, TAG Burger Bar, Los Chingones, bubu, Sugarmill, Guard and Grace, and Lucky Cat.
“This concept is very close to my heart—and the food reflects that,” says Guard. “Mister Tuna is all about social eating and gathering. We are a group of creators who are looking to have a good time doing what we love, and hoping in the process that our guests will, too.”
The menu revolves around the restaurant’s custom-built wood-fired grill and rotisserie and focuses heavily on meat, in addition to a selection of house made pastas, vegetables, and seafood based dishes in the form of small and large shareable plates. Mister Tuna also has a dedicated preservation bar featuring jars of fruits and vegetables that find their way into many of the dishes—pickled, fermented or otherwise.
To begin, guests may enjoy unique raw bar offerings such as Torched Pacific Kampachi with pickled beet broth and sprouts as well as Spanish Mackerel with Persian lime oil, Colorado honey and grilled fish bone broth, or appetizers like Charlie Guard Poke (flash grilled tuna with seaweed and chili pepper soy dressing); Charcoal Roasted Lamb Grilled Pizza with Romesco, Fontina and spinach; Handmade Gnocchi with grilled broccolini, porcini butter and La Quercia speck; and Rotisserie Pork Shoulder with grilled scallion puree and a raw vegetable salad. Entrées include options like Whole Roasted Rotisserie Rabbit with pickled Swiss chard stems and white bean puree; Dry Aged Colorado Rib Eye with G&G seasoning and pickles; and Roasted Alaskan Halibut with wheat berries and house made kimchi. Dessert includes both sweet and savory confections like the Hawaiian Chocolate Brownie a la Mode with warm nuts, and the Beet Raspberry and Goat Cheese Cake.
To complement the fare, Mister Tuna’s beverage program, led by Nikki Guard and Michael Cerretani, boasts a well-traveled wine list built of sips that are truly the best in class and hold exceptional value. Guests may also enjoy an assortment of specially crafted signature cocktails such as the Waterslide with tequila, watermelon, fresh lime and agave, and the Italian Herbalist with Campari, vodka, fresh lemon, and Kombucha.
Mister Tuna is located inside RiNo’s INDUSTRY building, a collaborative workspace development that houses shared office space and other amenities. Local design team Boss architecture was able to preserve much of the architectural integrity of the 3,500-square-foot space—giving it an overall sleek, yet approachable and comfortable aesthetic. Playing to the restaurant’s industrial character, Mister Tuna is outfitted with charred black sugiban wood siding, exposed glazed block, steel and concrete—but the focal point of the 115-seat restaurant is the commanding four-part bronze bar that runs the length of the room. A chef’s counter offering a front row view into the open kitchen is followed by a cocktail bar, raw bar, and preservation bar. A spiral staircase leads to a small mezzanine, that seats an additional 10, and custom blown glass light fixtures decorate the space. Overhead garage doors line the front wall and open to Mister Tuna’s outdoor patio, which seats 30—40 guests. Guard also commissioned artist Lui Ferreyra to custom design and paint a floor to ceiling mural that further drives the artistic sensibilities of the neighborhood.