Home / World News / ChoLon chef Lon Symensma preps two restaurants along 16th Street Mall — The Know from The Denver Post

ChoLon chef Lon Symensma preps two restaurants along 16th Street Mall — The Know from The Denver Post

Kaya Kitchen’s signature Kaya Toast will make an appearance on the menu at Kaya Asian Café. (Rachel Adams Photography, provided by Kaya Kitchen)

ChoLon Modern Asian is getting new neighbors, and I’m betting they’ll get along. Lon Symensma, the chef behind ChoLon, is opening two new restaurants in downtown’s SugarCube building.

Kaya Asian Café and LeRoux will take over the old H Burger spot on 16th Street Mall next to ChoLon.

“Ever since we’ve been in the SugarCube building, it’s been such a great partnership with those guys. The opportunity came up to get the space next door to ChoLon, and now we’re going to have three restaurants on the same block. It’s the new hot block in Denver right now,” Symensma said.

Kaya Asian Café will be a quick-service breakfast and lunch spot similar to Symensma’s restaurant inside Avanti that opened in July. (He’s in talks with Avanti to re-brand that concept to something else.) Kaya will serve Vietnamese coffee, breakfast banh mi and southeast Asian-inspired soups and salads.

A rendering of the SugarCube building’s new restaurant tenants, Kaya Asian Cafe and LeRoux. (Provided by Semple Brown)

At night, Kaya will become a private dining room for ChoLon, which will close for a few days around the 4th of July to undergo renovations and sound-proofing.

Symensma, who began his career cooking European food, traveling around Europe and working under accomplished chefs such as Daniel Boulud, said he’s looking forward to getting back to his culinary roots with LeRoux.

“LeRoux is kind of a celebration of my early years as a chef,” Symensma said. “Everyone thinks of me as an Asian chef in Denver. That’s great, and I was able to do what I wanted to do in Denver and put ChoLon on the map as a great restaurant, but now it’s time to diversify myself on the food scene and get back to my roots. Before I knew what lemongrass and chilies were, I was cooking at Michelin-star restaurants in France.”

LeRoux, which is named after Symensma’s mentor at the Culinary Institute of America, will be similar in feel to ChoLon but taking on European cuisine instead of Asian. Menu items will include gnocchi, pasta, Spanish-inspired mussels and a play on French onion soup in short rib form. (Anyone who’s tried his soup dumplings at ChoLon will be ordering that one.)

“LeRoux is a celebration of classic French and European cooking,” Symensma said. “Nouveau style, taking those dishes and re-interpreting them.”

Symensma hopes to open Kaya Asian Café Aug. 1 and LeRoux a couple weeks after that.

Kaya Asian Café and LeRoux: SugarCube building, Denver. Opening Aug. 2018

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