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The Preservery Opens Friday in RiNo

A market, music venue, and fine casual dining spot

The Preservery

The Preservery is:

  • A place to enjoy coffee and kouign amann while you work
  • The location of your next lunch meeting
  • Where you’ll find the best chocolate selection in Denver
  • A gourmet grocery store
  • The edible-visual-audible proof that you present to your visiting friends from New York or Portland that Denver’s dining scene can hold its own

Yes, it really is all of these things (and more). “I’m not f*cking around,” says Whitney (aka Whit) Ariss, who is establishing this Renaissance concept with her husband Obe, short for Obadiah. She was actually talking about her chocolate selection, but we think this applies to the whole of The Preservery, which will host its grand opening on Friday, April 1 from 6-9pm. Here’s a day in the life of The Preservery {Backyard on Blake, 3040 Blake Street, #101, Denver}:

The Preservery

A panorama of The Preservery

Morning

Natural sunlight flows through the large windows as people sit at tables eating Grits with roasted vegetables or housemade Thick-Cut Sourdough Toast with cultured butter. A few folks are working, taking bites of Chocolate Banana Eclairs, as acoustic music wafts over the space. A couple of guys eat cookies for breakfast—Linzertorte and nut-filled Ma-amouls—while perusing The Preservery’s library of cookbooks and cooking magazines.

The Preservery

Mid-day

The buzz of the space reaches its zenith around 12:30pm. People who have been working at The Preservery since 10am realize they’re hungry again and order a snack like Pork Cracker Jack with toasted peanuts or a Beef Broth soup with vegetables and Anson Mills blue barley alongside Rowdy Mermaid kombucha on tap.

Ladies who lunch stake claim to four-tops and dive into a Red Russian Kale salad with anchovies, roasted beets, almonds, and citrus. Oh, and they’ll also share the Market Board with seven selections from The Preservery’s salumi and cheese selections.

At one end of the long community table, a young man gets in touch with his childhood via the PB&J on white with salted nut butter and market preserves; at the other end, four suits meet to discuss a new partnership over sandwiches involving pig ears, turmeric jam, and mortadella.

market

chocolate

Afternoon

The space quiets down a bit. A neighborhood local drops in to get coffee, while a woman driving through RiNo stops by to pick up a gift for a friend, but ends up going full-on grocery shopping. Three bars of chocolate in the sassiest packaging around (with the taste to back up the looks—Whit used to be the chocolate buyer for Whole Foods). A pound of bacon for her husband. A few Noosa Yoghurts because silky, richness. A bottle of hot sauce for her adrenaline-seeking teenaged son. And a package of Rancho Gordo pinquito beans, which a clerk notes cooks up as creamy as they come.

A bearded gentleman, meanwhile, peruses the deli counter in preparation for a picnic for a highly anticipated Tinder date: a cheese-charcuterie spread to blow her away with his Old-World knowledge, a medley of sides, a tub of house pickles, and a baguette.

At the bar, people begin to trickle in for post-work beers—everyone’s trying the collaboration Belgian golden strong ale that The Preservery brewed with CO-Brew. Outside, a couple braves the somewhat chilly temps over fresh blood orange cocktails on the patio. A sense of possibility hangs in the air, something is about to happen …

Whit Ariss

Whit at her grandma’s piano

Nighttime

That something is dinner and live music. In a corner designed to resemble Whit and Obe’s living room, a jazz pianist warms up on Whit’s grandma’s piano as another musician readies her saxophone.

The tunes provide a soundtrack for seasonal dishes like Baked Clams with escargot butter and grilled baguette; Zucchini, Potato, and Eggplant Moussaka; Braised Rabbit; and Yarmony Ranch Steak and marble potatoes with aged and young Gouda and herbs grown on the rooftop across from The Preservery.

A couple splits a Cookie Board and takes turns dipping their picks in milk. Sixty-year-old couples on a double date order every dessert in the house and polish off every bite of Whiskey Bread Pudding, Beignets, and Banana Fritter with tahini caramel. People linger over wine and ciders and Leopold Bros. whisky served neat as the music crescendos and mellows under the Film Noir-esque glow of old gas lanterns hanging from the ceiling. Just another day on the books at The Preservery.

The Preservery is hosting grand opening celebrations on Friday, April 1 and Saturday, April 2 from 6-9pm and will open for regular service on Tuesday, April 5.

By Maya Silver | Editor