Honor Society Handcrafted Eatery, which describes itself as a hybrid of fast casual and fine dining, is opening its first restaurant this summer in lower downtown Denver at 1900 16th St., according to a company press release.
"Honor Society is based on the idea that great food has the power to unite people and provide a path to a healthier lifestyle," said Jonas Tempel, one of Honor Society's founding partners. "It's our humble belief that a productive life starts with your food and food choices. Our vision was to combine the best of fast casual conveniences with the excellence and comfort of fine dining."
The 3,300-square-foot restaurant will feature handcrafted menu items, fresh juices, local craft beers, wines and specialty cocktails. It will open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner with dining room and bar seating and provide catering and delivery service. To better serve customers, it will deploy a full suite of digital assets for mobile ordering, menu downloads and nutritional information, Tempel said.
Four partners with diverse professional backgrounds — Tempel, Rob Alvarado, Ian Smith and Justin Brunson — created the Honor Society concept out of a shared desire to create a restaurant that serves high-quality, healthful food in a comfortable, inviting environment, Tempel said. They've also brought in local restaurant entrepreneur Ben Kaplan, of Oak at Fourteenth in Boulder and The Source in Denver, and Frank Schultz, CEO of Tavern Hospitality Group, as founding investors and advisers.
Brunson, owner and executive chef of Old Major and Masterpiece Deli, has focused Honor Society's menu on heritage-raised meats, sustainable seafood and produce sourced from local farms. Glenn Pollak, manager at Oak at Fourteenth, has created several signature healthy craft cocktails exclusively for the restaurant.
"We're using premium, consciously-sourced, nutrient-dense ingredients, and preparing them in a simple way to bring out their natural, delicious flavors," said Brunson, who has received numerous culinary accolades, including Bon Appetit's Top 50 New Restaurants (2013), Thrillist's Best New Restaurants in America (2013), 5280 magazine's Best New Restaurant (2014) and Westword's Readers Choice Best Chef (2014).
Honor Society's patrons can choose between plated meals that include base proteins and side dishes. Some of the protein options from Brunson's menu include Grilled Aspen Ridge Flank Steak and Sustainable Scottish Salmon. The side dishes will rotate seasonally and will include organic fire-roasted rainbow carrots, sautéed spinach and kale with garlic and chili flakes and gluten-free mac & cheese, Brunson said. The restaurant will also offer sandwiches, salads, flatbreads and a variety of freshly made lemonades and teas. Menu items are priced in the $8-to-$14 range.
"What excites me most about this project is the brand's higher purpose of improving lives," Alvarado said. "For our guests, we have the opportunity to positively affect eating habits by offering high-quality, healthful and craveable food and beverages at a great value. However, our reach will extend well beyond the four walls of the restaurant as we are committed to investing in improving the lives of our co-workers and communities."