August 12, 2022

Opening of the Japanese restaurant Kumoya at Tony P in LoHi

Tony P’s is out and Juan P is in.

Denver restaurateur Juan Padro is preparing to open a new restaurant in Tony P’s former location at 2400 W. 32nd Ave. at LoHi this year.

“I think it’s arguably the best corner in town,” Padro said.

Tony Pasquini told BusinessDen in January that he was moving his pizzeria after 15 years on the same corner to a smaller space more suitable for takeout, just two blocks south at 3000 Zuni St.

Padro last month purchased the remaining five-year lease from Pasquini for the 2,300-square-foot pizzeria and adjacent 1,500-square-foot bar called Zio Romolo’s Alley Bar. Pasquini opened both in 2007.

Padro and chef Corey Baker plan to open a Japanese restaurant called Kumoya, which means “cloud shop,” by the end of the year.

Baker has been working with Japanese cuisine for 20 years and has visited Japan four times. He was previously executive chef and co-owner of Sushi Ronin and Izakaya Ronin, worked at Sushi Den and helped open Sushi Hai in the Highlands.

“Opening a restaurant and leaving it in someone else’s hands is like dropping your kids off at daycare forever,” Baker said. “I’ve been consulting in the restaurant industry for two years, but I want to put down more lasting roots.

Baker’s wife, Jana, also worked for Padro’s restaurant group, Culinary Creative, for eight years, which is how the two became friends.

“This guy is as good as it gets, and we’ve wanted to do something for a long time,” Padro said. “The heart of who we are is our creative people, and the heart of what we do is putting them in a position to succeed, which differentiates us from a traditional restaurant group. But it allows us to continue to offer unique concepts and defy the norm.

Kumoya will serve elevated sashimi dishes, specialty nigiri, a small selection of sushi rolls, handmade dumplings and noodles, as well as traditional Japanese dishes like katsu sando, a fried pork sandwich. Culinary Creative Partner and Culinary Director Max Mackissock will help Baker in the kitchen.

Kumoya will be designed around the sushi bar in the pizzeria’s main space, and it will also have a traditional bar in the former Zio Romolo space, where Baker plans to serve late-night food.

“I’m always evolving with Japanese cuisine, so I want to bring those irresistible things to Denver that you can only get in Japan,” Baker said. “Things that even Matsuhisa or Uchi don’t have.”

Culinary Creative has nine concepts around town, including the Forget Me Not cocktail bar in Cherry Creek. The bar building at 227 Clayton St. was sold to Denver-based developer Alpine Investments in June, when the company paid $25.2 million for it and the Cherry Cricket building to the south. Padro said he thinks the Forget Me Not building will be demolished in five years.

In addition to Kumoya, in November Padro is opening Fox and The Hen, a breakfast concept across the street, a new cocktail bar in Cherry Creek called Caldera, and building a Detroit-style pizzeria in Jefferson Park, which he plans from open in September.

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This story was reported by our partner BusinessDen.