Crafted Concepts, the group behind four award-winning Denver restaurants, Rioja, Stoic & Genuine, Euclid Hall, and Bistro Vendôme, will open Ultreia in Denver’s Historic Union Station in the first quarter of 2017.
James Beard Best Chef: Southwest Jennifer Jasinski, along with business partners Beth Gruitch and Jorel Pierce have signed a lease on what will soon be 1,900 square feet in the building’s Great Hall based on the shared plate pinxtos (pronounced peen chos) and tapas of the Iberian peninsula countries of Spain and Portugal.
The word Ultreia has its roots in Latin, loosely translates to “onward” and refers to the words of encouragement shouted to pilgrims on their Camino de Santiago—a 1,000-year-old pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. It seemed a fitting name for a restaurant located in a transit hub.
The space that formerly housed Fresh eXchange will be completely transformed with the help of Boss Architecture and the addition of mezzanine seating and full bar. Ultreia will be the second Crafted Concepts restaurant in Union Station joining their successful seafood concept, Stoic & Genuine.
Partners Gruitch and Jasinski recently returned from a research trip to Spain and Portugal. Pierce leaves for a similar trip in September. Together, the partners will incorporate many of their traditional discoveries in the menu and beverage program at Ultreia. The menu will reflect traditional Portuguese and Spanish methods translated into the vision of chefs Jasinski and Pierce and might include Ajo Blanco, an Andalusian almond garlic soup with grapes; Cadiz-style sea bream with regional sherry; Octopus carpaccio with preserved lemon, olive oil, chili; Sardine, piquillo pepper and egg on bread (a classic tapa); Hake and béchamel croquette; Crispy morcilla, Crispy beef tongue with mustard espagnola; Roasted leg of lamb with preserved lemon and garlic; Fried artichokes. Gruitch’s beverage program will feature classic Spanish gin tonics (no ampersand in Spain), Spanish and Portuguese wines, and a broad selection of sherries.
“We are not Spanish but we plan to pay respect to the classics and put our own unexpected twists onto them,” Jasinski says. “Our trip confirmed the passion for ingredients and techniques that we expected from the Iberian peninsula.”