Occupying the space where Restaurant Kevin Taylor once stood inside Denver's Hotel Teatro in the Theatre District is The Nickel, a casual and chef-driven restaurant concept that plays on Colorado’s Rocky Mountain heritage.
It's got an entirely different vibe than the formal former.
On the culinary and drink side, a wood-fired oven, savory meals and the Barrel Bar are the main focus.
The Nickel restaurant replaces restaurant Kevin Taylor in Denver — Photo courtesy of The Nickel
Barrel-aged cocktails showcase the unique beverage program, which adds a twist to classics like the Standard Manhattan – with barrel-aged Leopold whiskey, Dolin Rouge vermouth and Dram Hair of the Dog bitters – and The Nickel Negroni, with barrel-aged Jackelope gin, Dolin Rouge vermouth, Campari and a burnt orange peel garnish.
Here, cocktails selected for barrel aging are mixed in large batches before being poured into oak barrels, where flavors mingle before they're ready to serve.
An extensive wine list and inventive draught beer selections round out the drink menu.
The menu features new classics with creative seasonal twists and takes inspiration from around Colorado, highlighting seasonal fare with locally sourced ingredients from farms, markets and ranches. Examples include Broken Shovel goat cheese, Olathe sweet corn and beef from Emma Farms, a Wagyu cattle ranch in Aspen.
We recommend starting with English Pea Bruschetta, which is topped with house-made ricotta, a mint tea pesto, pea leaves and Meyer lemon zest.
For a top-selling salad, try the spicy preserved albacore tuna panzanella served with fava beans, calabrian chiles, pea shoots and crunchy country croutons.
For the main course, order the half rotisserie chicken with parsnip purree and root vegetables served on the side.
The Nickel also does breakfast, with the house coffee from local Method Roasters. Specialties for the day's opening meal include the breakfast sandwich topped with eggs, cheddar and bacon marmalade, as well as the French toast served with an espresso caramel and chocolate streusel. Yummy.
When it comes to the décor, The Nickel takes inspiration from Colorado’s past, with a mix of old and new reclaimed materials like the wooden bleachers repurposed as tabletops and vintage stamps as bases.
Find high wrap-around booths, industrial custom-made furnishings, wood floors and tables as well as large windows that bring plenty of natural light to the scene. It's the work of Telluride-based architectural firm Studio Frank, which keeps the design classic yet modern.
And the name "The Nickel"? It pays homage to the hotel's storied past: the space it occupies was once used to collect nickels from customers riding streetcars in the early 20th century.
In those days the building was the Denver Tramway Building, constructed in 1911. Today, you can still see the original vault where the coins were kept.