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The Lovely Annette Opens in Stanley Marketplace

Chef-owner Caroline Glover's new restaurant is a fantastic addition to the Aurora food hall.

Photo: Lori Midson

Last Saturday, while just about everyone else was playing bumper-carts in the supermarket in anticipation of Super Bowl Sunday, Caroline Glover quietly opened her new restaurant inside Stanley Marketplace, the multi-level, 100,000-square-foot food hall, boutique shopping mecca, seasonal farmers’ market, and brewery destination in Aurora that will eventually house more than 50 independently owned tenants, including a dozen restaurants and specialty food shops. But none of them is quite like Annette {2501 Dallas Street, Aurora; 720.710.9974}.

Annette chef-owner Caroline Glover assembles her quinoa bowl. Photo: Lori Midson

“I named the restaurant after my great-aunt, Annette, who was this incredibly strong, blunt and opinionated woman, and I think most of my family would say the same thing about me,” says Glover, a Texas native and Culinary Institute of America graduate who held sous-chef positions at Spotted Pig—April Bloomfield’s Michelin-starred New York restaurant—and Acorn at the Source before taking a leap of faith to open the embodiment of a petite neighborhood restaurant on the perimeter of a mammoth marketplace. “I wanted to do a small restaurant, and Annette is everything I had hoped for when I first envisioned it: homey, cozy, and modern,” adds Glover, who enlisted two friends—an architect and a designer, married to each other—to compose and construct the lovely space. Bamboo lanterns illuminate the dining room, a light grey, cornflower blue and white color palette that’s offset by industrial garage doors that open to a sidewalk patio, original paintings of poppies brush-stroked by Glover’s grandfather, stained concrete floors, an entire wall stacked floor-to-ceiling with oak logs, and planters flush with succulents, rubber trees, and ficus plants. “There are a lot of hard surfaces in the building, so I wanted to soften up the room with plants, which also add a bit of femininity,” says Glover, who admits to hoarding plants at home.

The charred octopus sandwich is a stunner. Photo: Lori Midson

Glover’s menus, all of which are rooted in seasonality and pay fierce homage to her “scratch to table” tagline—a mantra that operates within the context of sustainability and responsible sourcing—showcase only a handful of dishes, but they’re all profound overachievers with purpose and one common denominator: Glover’s fanatical obsession with wood-fire cooking, the heart and soul of her open kitchen. “When I was young and naïve, I wanted to live on a farm in the mountains and cook everything over wood,” says Glover. “I don’t want to change ingredients from their natural state, and wood-fire cooking is great because it doesn’t manipulate flavors,” explains Glover, adding that while her childhood dream isn’t quite a reality, Annette is “really good start.” We’re enamored of her Charred Octopus Sandwich, a landscape of mustard greens, caper-studded aïoli, romesco, tender bits of octopus and chorizo sandwiched between two halves of pressed ciabatta from City Bakery. Her deviled eggs, with their whipped creamy interiors (Glover mixes the yolk with aïoli), snippets of chives, and blot of romesco sauce, are superb. And if you’re obsessed with grilled cheese sandwiches, Glover’s creation, involving housemade apricot preserves, charred onions, and Chandoka, a fruity cheddar-style cheese made with a combination of cow’s and goat’s milk, is the kind of thing that fuels a convivial lunch crowd.

A modern twist on deviled eggs. Photo: Lori Midson

The bar program is every bit as alluring as Glover’s dishes. Cocktails, the recipes of which were formulated by McClain Hedges of the Proper Pour and RiNo Yacht Club, emphasize strong spirits, seasonal ingredients, housemade syrups, and smartly tweaked twists on the classics. Don’t miss the Beetsy Collins—a play on a Tom Collins—with mezcal, beet-and-ginger syrup, spiced pear, lime, and a splash of soda. A terrific craft-beer syllabus, along with an offbeat wine list filled with funky red, white, and rosé gems, round out the liquid assets.

The mezcal-forward Beetsy Collins. Photo: Lori Midson

Annette is open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Monday; brunch is served on Saturday and Sunday starting at 9 am. The restaurant is closed on Tuesday.

By Lori Midson