The Chavez: Fried Poblano pepper filled with Asadero cheese and potatoes as well as iceberg lettuce, avocado, sweet chipotle sauce and Oaxaca cheese on a good drink sesame cemita roll at Open on March 22nd. (AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post)
Here’s the deal: Open only serves six types of sandwiches, and each is created by a different Denver chef. They are sold daily at a counter in a Denver bar, as well as online for delivery or pickup. And $ 1 from each sale will be donated to a local charity of the chefs’ choice.
For long-time restaurant server and manager Jake Riederer, the transition to opening his own restaurant was quick. It started with a business plan in late November and ended with a counter service through March.
When you go
Open is located in American Bonded at 2706 Larimer St. Order at the bar or online at opendenco.com. Open Mon-Fri 4 p.m. – midnight, Sat. – Sun. noon midnight. 720-531-3969
For a month now, Riederer and his business partner, head chef Jhon Chavez, have been serving sandwiches from the back of the American Bonded Bar on Larimer Street until midnight every day. To order, you can sit anywhere in the bar or go online before hitting the alley and pick up your sandwiches from the back door.
Riederer wanted Open to be quick and easy, but also “premium quality and designed by the chef”.
Co-founder of Open Jake Riederer (right) and head chef Jhon Chavez on Monday, March 22nd, 2021. The sandwich shop opened on March 1st as a pick-up service via the alley entrance on 27th and Larimer Street or from the bar at American Bonded. (AAron Ontiveroz, Denver Post)
“I think we’re filling a niche that wasn’t met before,” he said. “My hope was to create a space outside the chef’s ego, even though our menu is determined by that. But if I want to ask these chefs about their recipes, I have to make sure it’s worth it for them. “
For the opening menu, Riederer tapped his cooking friends, who also happen to be among the best culinary talents in Denver. The lineup includes Dana Rodriguez from Super Mega Bien and Work & Class; Jeff Osaka of Osaka Ramen and Sushi Rama; Tommy Lee from Uncle and Hop Alley; Sushi chef Toru Watanabe; Cliff Blauvelt from Tap & Burger Concepts; and Chavez from Open.
Riederer said he liked the idea of showcasing these chefs’ creations in “meals” (read: sandwiches) that cost $ 15. Plus: “How much cooler if we donate something while we’re at it?”
He let the cooks choose their charity. Everyone agreed on the Angel Heart project, whose former head chef Brandon Foster suddenly passed away last year. Three days before Open’s first month, Riederer and Chavez had raised $ 1,645 to donate. And even by the time Chavez made five other chefs’ sandwiches, his own creation of a chilirelleno between two sesame buns had become a bestseller.
If business continues to do well, there could be another Open location in Denver in the future, or at least another crop of sandwiches (more chefs have reached out to Riederer with their own ideas).
And for anyone who thinks $ 15 for a sandwich, that’s just too much: “I totally understand,” said Riederer. But he and Chavez start their employees at $ 17 an hour and plan to offer benefits like health insurance after the first year.
“There’s a way how you do it,” said Riederer of making sandwiches and opening a restaurant.
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