David Burke, a New York City chef and restaurateur, will help fill the gap where The Gap clothing store once stood at the corner of Galena and Hopkins.
Burke said Friday that he hopes the David Burke Kitchen will be open in January on the second floor of the new, 21,452-square-foot building, which is under construction at the corner of Hopkins Avenue and Galena Street.
The restaurant will be in the farm-to-table style, much like his restaurant in New York’s Soho neighborhood, as Burke said he plans to use local products as much as possible.
“We’re not going to be chasing berries and things that are out of season,” said Burke, who also has restaurants in Chicago and Las Vegas. “We’ll be putting what’s available on the plate, and in Colorado there’s plenty of local stuff.
“We’ll try to stay as local and as seasonal as possible.”
Items will include dry-aged meats like venison, elk, wild boar and several “pig dishes,” along with roasted trout and aged cheeses, he said.
Burke’s first new restaurant in about three years will take up the roughly 5,200-square-foot upper floor of the two-story building, which is being developed by Chicago businessman Mark Hunt. He and some investors purchased the building and the adjacent parking lot for $13.25 million in October. High-end retail space is planned for the street level.
Lorrie Winnerman, the Aspen real estate agent assisting Hunt with the development, said the deal to bring in Burke was recently finalized.
“He’s one of the premier restaurateurs in the country,” she said. “This will be a real feather in everyone’s cap.”
Burke said he envisions an approach that uses “all parts of the animal,” and a greater flexibility to both use what’s in season and educate diners on current happenings in the culinary world.
But he said he wants the new restaurant, which will have a large, wood-burning stove, to offer more than only a fine-dining experience. The business will have plenty of outdoor seating and a bar menu that features offerings like short ribs, pretzel crab cakes and cheese-cake pops.
“We think simpler is a little better sometimes,” Burke said.
No stranger to town and its Food and Wine Classic, Burke said he often took ski vacations here and to Beaver Creek when his children were younger. Now one of his sons will be moving to Aspen to help with the opening.
The local spot “just landed in our laps,” he said. “A good friend and customer of mine” who had business dealings with Hunt led to the arrangement.
“The location and opportunity were exciting,” Burke said. “We’re excited to be part of the community.”
He said he plans on spending time here in the next couple of months.
“We have to start hiring people,” Burke said. “We can’t open it on our own.”