Home on the Grange
Restaurateur Troy Guard serves up his casual and community-minded take on food halls in the Denver Tech Center.
Photography by Marc Piscotty
FOOD HALLS HAVE been a bright spot in the pandemic-plagued restaurant industry as consumers are able to quench their appetites for food that is quick, local, affordable, varied and in environments that are open and welcoming.
Denver-based chef and restaurateur Troy Guard, who operates 17 eateries representing nine concepts, recognized this trend as one he wanted to jump on a few years back. He realized his vision in September with the opening of Grange Hall, a food hall, micro-brewery and bar in the Denver Tech Center. Guard and partners Kevin Hawkins and Ken Himel bought the space—a shuttered C.B. Potts restaurant—in 2019 and began the process of renovating it to house nine food stalls, multiple seating areas, outdoor patios with fire pits, a lounge area with a fireplace and cushy seating, and an event space.
Painted bright white and trimmed in black, the sprawling, barn-like structure and its silo lend an Americana feel to the property despite the fact it is surrounded by parking lots, office buildings, apartments and hotels. Train your eyes on the view of Pikes Peak from the patio, and you momentarily forget you are in the suburbs.
With plenty of businesses nearby and people going back to work, a stream of din- ers visits the hall each weekday for lunch. Grange also caters to the after-work crowd, and families and couples stop in for dinner before taking in a movie at the theater across the way or attending a concert at nearby Fid- dler’s Green. Grange Hall also offers brunch on the weekends, has multiple screens for viewing sports, and hosts community-fo- cused events like pumpkin carving in the fall.
The Grange’s biggest draw is the variety of food: Eight stalls offer everything from pizza and burgers to bowls, chicken sandwiches, sushi, Mediterranean wraps, German-inspired ice cream and coffee creations.
“You can come here every day for a week and eat something different each time,” says Guard, who is pleased with the lineup he and his team have put together. He admits he would have happily filled all the food stalls with his own concepts, but knew it would be better if he brought in a variety of options. And he even has a ninth spot he plans to use as a pop-up stall for a chef who wants to try out a new concept, or a seasonal offering such as holiday pies.
“Troy is always on trend and right in the middle of the scene—and he certainly knows how to build and open big, splashy restaurants,” says Amanda Faison, editor in chief of DiningOut Magazine and former food reviewer for 5280 Magazine. “He reads what Denver wants and he delivers.”
The name for the food hall was inspired by the Grange movement started by American farmers in the 1860s. “Ranchers and farmers would come to trade and talk politics,” Guard says. In the updated version, he says. “It’s a place to come for lunch, have a date night, bring the kids, watch football and listen to music.”
6575 Greenwood Plaza Blvd.
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Closed Monday; hours vary Tuesday through Saturday
WHAT’S ON THE MENU AT GRANGE HALL
1. BUBU is Guard’s global-inspired take on build-your-own bowls. Choose from popular selections like Thai, Mexican or poke; or create your own by picking a base of grains, noodles or rice; a protein to top it; and five additional ingredients, including locally sourced vegetables.
2. UPTOWN & HUMBOLDT serves Mediterranean street food created by chef Gio Dia, who also has a food truck in Denver. The menu changes frequently and includes items such as lamb and Baja fish gyros, cole slaw and yucca fries. uptownhumboldt.com
3. TILFORD’S WOOD FIRED PIZZA started as a food truck and opened its first bricks- and-mortar restaurant in 2019 in Edgewater Public Market. Tilford’s is known
for its perfectly baked pizzas topped with fresh ingredients. The hand-tossed pizzas are 10-11 inches and will feed one or two people. The menu also features crisp salads with organic, hydroponically grown lettuce, and appetizers for sharing. tilfordspizza.com
4. HONEY FISH is the newest concept from Jianxiong Li, owner of Mizu Izakaya,. The stall offers temaki handrolls and sushi created with high-quality, fresh and sustainable ingredients.
5. EISKAFFEE is a German-inspired coffee and ice cream counter from Erika Thomas and Chad Stutz, who operate High Point Creamery. Customers can get their ice cream and coffee mixed in an eiskaffee that has a base of nitro cold brew topped with vanilla ice cream, chocolate shavings and whipped cream, or can order their coffee and cold treats separately. Fresh- baked goods are offered daily, and ice cream is also available by the pint. eiskaffee.co
6. A gourmet hot dog business based in Salt Lake City, Utah. J. DAWGS offers Polish, beef and beef combo hot dogs. This is the company’s first Colorado location. jdawgs.com
7. THE BAR, with cocktails created by TAG Restaurant Group’s beverage director, Nikki Guard and her staff. Pick from beers on tap, a wine selection curated by Guard, or signature cocktails such as The Grange Spritz, made with Ketel One peach vodka, lemon, elderflower, mint and soda.
8. THE CRACK SHACK got its start in San Diego in 2015, and Guard became a convert after sampling its chicken sandwiches. The Shack also offers such items as bowls, loaded fries and a Lil’ Cluckers kids meal. crackshack.com
9. LITTLE DRY CREEK BREWING COMPANY, with Ty Nash at the helm as head brewer, offers a dozen or so beers at a time, all brewed on site.
Suzanne S. Brown is managing editor of Colorado Expression.