Dish restaurant in Edwards reinvents itself as seafood-centric eatery
EDWARDS — An Edwards restaurant announced its closing in early September with dramatic flair. Dish restaurant’s last night is slated for Sept. 19. The restaurant doors will reopen Oct. 5 with a new name, new look, new menu and new concept, said Pollyana Forster, who owns the restaurant with her partner, Chris Irving. Quite the quick turnaround, but what else would you expect from a couple who in 2013 opened Tacorico in Edwards and the year before that, Eat + Drink in Denver? The restaurant’s executive chef — Veronica Morales — remains at the helm.
“It’s a sea of change,” read the email that Forster and Irving sent out to their clients and contacts. “We are reopening as an amazing new concept. A gorgeous oyster and crudo bar with a seafood-centric menu. And yes, some steak, chicken, pork and ramen menu items, too!”
“We wanted a bit of the drama of ‘we’re announcing Dish is closing’ to get people to open (the email),” Forster said.
Along with detailing how many guests have dined at the restaurant — over 1.6 million in 8 years, or around 210,000 people per year, according to Forster — and other fun facts, such as how many orders of the eatery’s tasty Brussels sprouts have gone out (7,823!), the email invited guests to come in and enjoy Dish at a discounted price (30 to 50 percent off everything, depending on when you go) before the menu disappears. Each table that comes in during these last two weeks Dish is open will walk out with a coveted item: the recipe for the Brussels sprouts, Forster said.
The restaurant will close nearly eight years to the day it opened.
“They call it the seven-year itch in the restaurant business” before the owners want to “change something or drastically revamp,” Forster said. “We were lucky to make it an eight-year itch. When Dish opened eight years ago, it was innovative, especially for the valley. Since then we’ve been joined by great competition — vin48 and Boxcar in Avon and, to some extent, Mountain Standard — with the small plate, big plate concept,” she said.
Forster and Irving travel quite a bit and have been busy “researching,” which is to say eating exquisite food.
“All the hot places in New York and San Francisco, like Bar Crudo, are seafood centric,” Forster said.
“We’re filling a need and want to have simply prepared fish as a part of your diet,” she said. “We do print outs of the biggest selling dishes at Dish, and it’s mostly seafood.”
The couple also owns Eat + Drink, Cut and Tacorico, all in the same building at Edwards Corner.
“We have so many great relationships (with purveyors) in Hawaii, Boston, Florida, California. We fly in all of our fish for Cut anyway, so it’s not rocket science for us to expand the concept,” Forster said.
The new menu will be split into a hot and cold section, Forster said. There will be five to six types of oysters available daily, five or six different types of crudo (raw fish), including a hamachi (yellowtail), tuna, salmon, all with different preparations. There will be five or six different types of cooked fish presentations.
“People can choose sauces as well as sides,” Forster said. “The price point is reasonable, $12 to $20 range, except for lobster.”
Sides such as truffle mac and cheese, cornbread, potato gratin and Parker House rolls can be ordered separate. There will still be a chicken, pork and steak option on the menu, along with “two or three really fun ramens as well,” Forster said. “Ramen is so hot right now.”
Expect classics such as seafood bouillabaisse and cioppino to be on the menu, as well as clam chowder. Irving’s mom, who grew up on Cape Cod, is flying in to teach Morales and the other chefs their family recipes for clam chowder, lobster rolls and baked clams.
NEW NAME + NEW LOOK
The email that was sent out also asked for feedback on what the new restaurant should be called. Forster has gotten around 600 emails she said, with many people weighing in on the new name. Some of the options include Deep, Dive and Feast, all with Fish House added, as well as keeping it Dish and adding Fish House to the name.
“Dive has been winning hands down,” Forster said, “followed by Feast. Third in line is keeping it as Dish Fish House.”
The restaurant will have a whole new look, Forster said, with a big chef’s shellfish table stocked with fresh fish near the kitchen. (Don’t worry — you can still sit at the chef’s table and watch Morales and company in action.) The deep red and green color palette will be switched out with a deep sea blue and Tiffany blue and the fabrics and lighting is all being changed out. This week, Forster has been busy hunting around Denver for new decor for the restaurant, including an “aquamarine blown-glass chandeliers and gigantic shellfish ice tables,” she said.