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Happy Anniversary: The Bindery Turns One

It’s official—tomorrow, Oct. 27, The Bindery {1817 Central Street, Denver; 303.993.2364} clocks in one whole year in the hearts of Denver diners. It was love at first taste, and that’s not just the “honeymoon phase” talking. A year of steaming cappuccinos, housemade pastries, lunch runs to the market, and shared plates for dinner—The Bindery showed up to soothe all of our hunger pangs. Always surprising us with “just because” menu changes and seasonal treats, The Bindery gives us goodies we can’t find elsewhere, like Barbecue Octopus, Spoon Corn Pudding, and Smoked Rabbit Pecan Pie. Need a little space? The market let’s you grub on the go. The momentous occasions? Well, remember the picnic basket they packed us on the Fourth of July? Don’t even get us started on the daily Blue Hour specials, where all our favorite bites ring in just under $10. Offering bold tastes and thoughtful service, and always there when you need them—well, except Mondays, but let’s not get clingy—that’s commitment. So here’s to The Bindery and all of Denver’s diners; congrats on year one, and cheers to many more! 

A party in honor of this happy, delicious, and mutually-beneficial relationship, also in coincidence with Dia de los Muertos, will take place Friday, November 2, from 3-11:30pm. Everyone is welcome from 3-6pm for complimentary bites and a cash bar, but then you have the option to stick around for a special anniversary dinner. Tickets are $129 (including tax and gratuity) and entail a cocktail party, a multi-course dinner, live music, and dancing. (Purchase tickets here.)

DiningOut Magazine reflected back on the past year with owner and chef, Linda Hampsten Fox, to talk highlights, road bumps, and the future.

DiningOut Magazine: What makes The Bindery a standout restaurant choice in Denver’s flourishing dining scene?
Linda Hampsten Fox: In Italy, when you ask someone how they are they often respond by telling you what they just ate. This idea has inspired and guided me in creating The Bindery. We’re an all-day eatery, centrally located in Denver and serve seasonal menus from early morning until late evening. Our creative menus, our attention to detail, and our desire to serve each individual at the highest level are some of the reasons our guests dine at The Bindery. In addition, our new general manager has developed an outstanding wine program and we are becoming known as one of the top restaurants in Denver to come to enjoy outstanding wines.

Do you feel like The Bindery has fostered a home in this community?
Absolutely. I love Denver. After having lived and traveled all over the world, it’s where I felt I wanted to open The Bindery. Also, we were really involved in our community for many years before we opened the doors. We hoped to be open a few years back, but there were several construction delays. We’re humbled by the strong local vendors here who embrace us and make us stronger. We’ve been involved with a large number of nonprofits throughout the city and state for many years, from North High School to The Excelsior Foundation to fundraising efforts for families in need and larger foundations, such as Chefs Up Front, Great Chefs of the West, and others.

What milestones and/or road bumps did year one bring?
Year one was a time of tremendous growth and refinement. Throughout the year, our team (from management to bakery to front of house and kitchen) has evolved into a welcoming restaurant that has something for everyone. We were voted the readers’ choice for the best new restaurant in Denver, which I am grateful for and proud of. The Colorado Restaurant Association also named me chef of the year. Some big road bumps were delays in design and construction; we were hoping to be open two years ago. Road bumps come every day and aren’t unlike what other local restaurants face, but with such a strong team we take them on in stride.

What did you take away from year one that you can bring with you into year two?
Service, service, service, and consistency, consistency, consistency. We’re a very creative group of professionals and the desire exists to constantly push our own boundaries. We have various opportunities to do that with our seasonal menu changes and with our weekly Chef’s Table, and we are constantly refining our palates.

For you personally, what was the highlight of year one?
There have been so many highlights, it is hard to just choose one, but I would definitely say that The Bindery has a certain energy and when the eatery is full, the bar is hopping, there are kids and families in the marketplace, the music is playing, the sun is shining, and the patio is abuzz—I look up from expo and smile…that is what The Bindery is designed for…something for everyone.

What exciting things can diners look forward to in the years to come?
We will stay committed to creative, seasonal menus that bring comforting and also exciting flavors to our guests. We approach this as if we are writing music and all the notes need to come together for a dish to be perfect. Only then do we place it onto our seasonal menu. This focus drives the entire restaurant team every day.

How are you and your team celebrating?
We are celebrating on November 2, Dia de los Muertos. Guests can join us for a prix-fixe dinner, live music, and drink specials from 7-10pm. We’re also hosting a community happy hour with special bites and a cash bar from 3-6pm. During lunch, we will feature additional specials. This seemed the perfect occasion since Dia de los Muertos is a celebration of food and drink and of your beloved ones. The Bindery was in large part inspired by my family, past and present. Most people know I worked in Italy as well as Mexico and both cultures influence the food at The Bindery.

Interview by Peyton Garcia, Content Editor

Photos by Lucy Beaugard