Pendulum restaurant will take over old Ore House space, opening in December
November 8, 2016
VAIL — The construction walls will finally come down for good in December, as a permanent tenant settles into the former Ore House space at 232 Bridge St. in Vail.
Touted as the first "new-build" restaurant to open in Vail Village in eight years, Pendulum, as the concept has been dubbed, will serve "modern, upscale American cuisine, utilizing local and seasonal ingredients, with slight Latin American influences throughout the menu," said executive chef Jake Burkhardt.
"When people come into the restaurant, they're not going to think that they're in a Latin restaurant, Argentinian or Peruvian," he said. "It's a modern American restaurant with these little notes throughout the menu."
Utilizing a rotisserie and wood-fired oven, Burkhardt's dishes will draw techniques and nuances from Argentina, Peru, Mexico City and Spain. The menu opens with shareable small plates, such as Tots & Caviar — Yukon gold, roasted garlic and onion tater tots with creme fraiche, caviar, chives and crispy shallots — and ancho-spiced Marcona almonds with burnt orange, fennel and herbs.
Appetizers include braised and fried crispy octopus with charred sweet potatoes, pimenton, plum radish, ruby-red grapefruit and soubice, and signature salads, such as the Ensalata Rusa: root vegatables (hawker eye turnips, baby beets, baby heirloom carrots) and winter squash, with honey-lime vinaigrette, mizuna greens and spiced pumpkin seeds.
Dinner entrees, including a butter-basted Alaskan halibut, served with braised red cabbage, smoked chorizo broth and spruce oil, will be served on custom clayware to highlight the presentation of the dishes and add to the ambiance of the new dining room, Burkhardt said.
"There's going to be beautiful wood floors, a lot of ironwork and woodwork around the bar, a giant custom-made chandelier — that will be one of the first things you see when you come in the door," he said.
The sleek, modern look extends to the glassware, which will ensconce libations created by San Francisco bar veterans Jacques Bezuidenhout and Ken Luciano. The cocktail program will focus on approachable, clean ingredients, with high-end liquors and a bit of experimentation, said beverage director Brandon Bigalke.
"I'll probably start with something around eight cocktails on the list," he said. "Of those, a few plays on classic cocktails and a few on there that are pushing the boundaries of experimenting on cocktails, playing with ingredients that aren't known around here."
A sommelier will cultivate the restaurant's extensive wine list, and the beer selection will incorporate European, South American and Latin American labels, as well as Colorado beers that fit a particular standard of ingredient sourcing and production, Bigalke said.
When the Ore House closed in April 2014 after 46 years of business in Vail Village, Gorsuch, the building's owner, first tagged the clock tower building space for expansion of its retail shop, as reported in the Vail Daily, before ultimately dropping that plan and opening up a request for proposals.
Elevation Vail Partners won the bid, signing a lease with Gorsuch in early winter 2014. The development company intended to launch a new restaurant in the space, with an ambitious architectural plan that would drastically change the interior.
"When it was the Ore House, there wasn't even a grease trap," said Rick Hayes, one of the four owners of Elevation Vail Partners. "We had to put the kitchen in the basement to make economical sense — it was more engineering and making the space economical."
With the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships looming, the building owner requested that Elevation Vail Partners activate the storefront in some way during the renovation, with the result being the advent of Crespelle, a pop-up crepe stand that took over the deck and part of the front-of-house space for the 2014-15 ski season and through the summer.
Crespelle was a hit and, after closing in August 2015, was relocated to a new space at the top of Bridge Street and reopened in the winter of 2015. Though the name "Commissary" was teased on panels for months outside the again-shuttered Gorsuch space, Elevation Vail Partners has since hired PlumpJack Group, out of San Francisco, to manage the new restaurant, resulting in a full rebranding that includes the new name — Pendulum.
Front- and back-of-house positions will be filled in the weeks leading up to the restaurant's debut in December. Pendulum will be open Monday through Saturday from 5:30 to 11 p.m. for dinner service, with a lunch menu to be added sometime in January, Burkhardt said.
"We didn't think it would take this long," said David Segerdahl, another owner of Elevation Vail Partners. "We didn't want to rush such an expensive and important restaurant in the middle of town."