Chef Takeover: Gregory Mak of Welton Room

BY Linnea Covington

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While dining out may give us a glimpse into the minds of chef, it’s not every day one can actually see what the chef sees. Until now. Enter DiningOut’s chef takeover, a bi-monthly feature where talented restaurant people show us behind the scenes snapshots of their day-to-day. 

Follow on Instagram @diningout to see what’s up, and enter to win a $100 gift card to the restaurant. All you have to do is like us, like the featured venue, and tag friends for a chance to win. 

The Restaurant

Welton Room opened in 2019 inside what is now known as Monkey Bar. In 2022 the Five Points lounge moved next door, and remains a popular spot for late night eats and drinks today. The room is large with an open floor plan, high ceilings and viewable kitchen that acts like a bit of dinner theater for those sauntering by. 

“As extravagant as our space looks, we are welcoming and curate an experience everyone can enjoy,” said chef Gregory Mak. “If you want something over the top, go next door to Monkey Bar, but for something new and approachable, Welton Room is the next stop.”

Cozy velvet chairs, couches and banquets litter the space like nine classy living rooms meshed together. Overseeing the floor one can find a large, shining bar with colorful bottles lining the shelves. Overall, Welton Room proves both comfortable and intimate, as well upscale and laidback. A meshing not unlike the food and drink choices.

The Chef

chef stands in front of wooded wall wearing blue apron
Meet chef Gregory Mak of Welton Room in Five Points. | Photo by Welton Room

Gregory Mak met Welton Room co-owner Chokedee (Champ) Buabucha while working as chef de cuisine at The Jacquard Hotel & Rooftop, opening up the property’s restaurant, Narrative. He joined Buabucha and his business partner, Jorge Ortega, to help form the second iteration of Welton Room, especially on the menu side. 

“I really wanted to do small, shareable plates paired with drinks and good vibes,” said Mak, a California native who also has a business degree, which he obtained before entering the restaurant and cooking world. “It’s the kind of place you could dress up for, or show up in jeans and sweatshirt.” 

The Food

With the menu Mak strives to highlight flavors from around the world, all under the moniker of seasonal American tapas. The main global highlights center around Asian, Italian, and French. The theme shows up in dishes such as lamb albondigas with spiced tomato, red pork belly bao, and grilled broccoli with gochujang and pressed lemon.

“We like to take ingredients at the height of the season and do as little as possible in order to highlight the natural ingredient,” said Mak, likening it to California cooking. “We don’t like to dose dishes in sauces and hide the flavor.” 

Welton Room also has its own bread program, and soon, added Mak, he will start dabbling into fermentation and preservation. That way, he said, the seasonal fare can stretch longer.

The Drinks

orange cocktail in glass on marbled table
Sip a drink such as the Oaxaca Vibes at the bar. | Photo by Linnea Covington

One thing Welton Room has always been known for is the cocktail menu. It’s not just innovative, it’s fun too. Think cocktails with drama, especially when visiting the sister space next door where fire and ice collide in a glass.  On the slightly tamer Welton Room side, the traditional White Russian goes invisible in the Clarified White Russian, which comprises vodka, coffee liquor, vanilla, and nutmeg bitters. With the Oaxaca Vibes, a combination of mezcal and a bitter-sweet apéritif, with bright pineapple and yuzu juices, the smokyness of the spirit sings with tangy citrus. For a spin on a classic, try the Duck Fat Washed Old Fashioned, no smoking jacket needed.

The Takeover

Tune in Wednesday, March 6 and see what the chef sees. Mak has hinted about making the Japanese sweet potato croquettes with yuzu aioli, as well as the potato tostones with buttermilk crema, and salmon roe. View all this and more by tuning into DiningOut’s Instagram stories, and make sure to follow us, follow Welton Room, and tag your friends in order for a chance to win a $100 gift card so you can visit the restaurant and taste the goods for yourself. 

Visit Welton Room on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday 5 p.m. to midnight; Saturday 11 a.m. to midnight; and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. 2590 Welton St., Denver, weltonroom.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Linnea Covington

Linnea Covington is the managing editor of DiningOut. She comes to us with a long background in food, restaurant and drinks journalism. Over the last two decades she’s written for tons of publications including Denver Post, Washington Post, Forbes Travel Guide, 5280 Magazine, New York Magazine, New York Times, Time Out New York and more.

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