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Chef Kyle Mendenhall’s Perfect Food Day

The Kitchen's top brass talks breakfast, lunch, and dinner away from the line

Chef Kyle Mendenhall, The Kitchen
By Jeffrey Steen | Managing Editor

The iconic Kitchen, first rooted on Boulder’s Pearl Street, is no stranger to the Denver-Boulder food scene. In fact, it has spread its haute comfort cuisine across multiple locations in Colorado and in Chicago—with more stops likely on the way.

While we often point to Founders Kimbal Musk and Hugo Matheson as the visionaries behind this successful concept, the daily kitchen magic is courtesy of the restaurant’s executive chef, Kyle Mendenhall. Ever intrigued by the life of a chef both on and off duty, we recently sat down with Mendenhall and chatted about the food and drink that gets him going on days away from the Kitchen. With two young boys and a house in Broomfield, it’s sometimes hard to hit the hottest spots, but Mendenhall has found several gems. If you ever wanted to eat like one of Colorado’s finest, then put these haunts on your bucket list.

5280 Donuts

5280 Donuts

Coffee and Breakfast: “On Saturday mornings, I love to go on a donut and coffee run with my boys. It’s kind of a tradition. There’s a donut shop not far from us called 5280 Donuts {555 US-287, Broomfield; 720.389.8497}. The coffee is nothing exciting, but the donuts are good. They make this really great Glazed Twist variety that is pretty much what I always go for. My youngest likes the Chocolate-Frosted Donut with sprinkles, and my oldest likes the Old Fashioned Cake Donut.

Occasionally, we’ll hit up OZO Coffee {multiple locations in Boulder}. I’ve got a punch card for Breve Cappuccinos, so that’s typically what I’ll get. They have some of the best coffee in town.”

Did You Know?
Chef Mendenhall actually likes to cook breakfast on his days off. Whodathunk? “When I have very good eggs, I’ll often just make an eggs Benedict at home,” he says. It’s quite simple, really: poached eggs, ham, English muffin, and hollandaise. He makes it sound so easy!
Salvaggio's Deli

Salvaggio’s Deli

Lunch: “Whenever we have the chance, my wife, boys, and I will make a trip into Boulder and go to Salvaggio’s {multiple locations}. I’ve been going there for about 14 years. They make really good, simple sandwiches with bread baked in-house. And they use Boar’s Head meat—which is a solid brand of deli meats. I usually get the Pepper Turkey and Roast Beef combo with Swiss cheese. Then I have them throw everything on there except for peppers. My wife is primarily a vegetarian, so she likes to get the Three-Cheese Sandwich. Oh, and they make really big cookies my boys always beg me for.”

Avery Brewing restaurant

Avery Brewing restaurant

Happy hour: “The new Avery Brewing and Tap House {4910 Nautilus Court, Boulder; 303.440.4324} is a great spot. It’s perfect for chilling in the afternoon. My good friend is the GM of the restaurant, so that’s part of the draw, but they also have big tables outside. You’re far enough away from things that you feel like you can kick back and take a break. Plus, the food is great—a lot of their meats are smoked in-house. And they have 30 taps of all their own beers. If you can’t find something you like there, something might be wrong with you. Personally, I veer towards lighter beers. The one I really like right now is the Collaboration not Litigation ale.”

Chef Mendenhall on eating on-duty:
“Chefs don’t follow normal eating patterns. We start our day with coffee, then get caught up in kitchen work and forget if we’ve eaten at all. On my best days, I’ll go to one of the (Kitchen) restaurants and grab a light beet salad or a quick pork sandwich for lunch. But there are a lot of days when 7pm rolls around and all I’ve had is coffee and Tic Tacs.”
California Roll at Sushi Zanmai

California Roll at Sushi Zanmai

Dinner: “My wife and I do enjoy going to Sushi Zanmai {1221 Spruce Street, Boulder, CO; 303.440.0733}. That’s usually for an anniversary or a date night. It’s partly nostalgic, because we’ve gone there for years. I know the owner and some of the chefs. Plus, it’s not pretentious. When it comes time to order, we always get the Z9 Roll. Shrimp Tempura usually follows, along with some miso soup, hand rolls, and a few pieces of sushi—like the fatty Yellowtail or the Mackerel. I usually end up drinking Sapporo and then supplement with premium sake. If you’re into cold varieties, I recommend the Otokoyama.”

The Kitchen Upstairs

The Kitchen Upstairs

Dessert/drinks: If I’m craving something sweet, my wife and I usually stroll over to The Kitchen Upstairs {1039 Pearl Street; 303.544.5973} and dig into the Chocolate Nemesis. I know I’m biased, but really, it’s simple and amazing—a whole lot of chocolate with a few eggs and some sugar. It’s the richest chocolate bomb you can imagine.

If we’re going out late, Bramble and Hare {1970 13th Street, Boulder; 303.444.9110} is a great spot for a nightcap.”

Peppers Pizza at Basta

Peppers Pizza at Basta

Secret indulgence: “Boy, I have too many. One that comes to mind is the Peppers Pizza at Basta {3601 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder; 303.997.8775}. I can take one of those down all on my own.”