Chef closes in on double dose of new burger joints

Troy Guard. Photos courtesy of Guard.

Troy Guard plans to open several new restaurants by the end of the year. Photos courtesy of Guard.

Troy Guard’s New Year’s resolution: Open five restaurants in 2016.

The chef, known for his Tag and Los Chingones concepts, will start his push with a two-restaurant sweep through the Highlands starting this month.

“You try to spread out openings, but it seems like they always come in waves like this,” said Guard, 44.

Guard will open his second Tag Burger Bar this month in the current Sunnyside Burger Bar at 3759 Lipan St.

“In the beginning I was brought on as a consultant to do the menu there for (operator) Larimer Associates,” Guard said. “Now, after 15 months, they’ve called me in and asked me if I wanted to take it over and run the day-to-day operations.”

Guard is investing about $75,000 in renovating the 3,000-square-foot restaurant, he said. The eatery will also feature a 1,000-square-foot patio.

The new Sunnyside Tag menu will be similar to the Congress Park Tag’s fare, including non-burger guest favorites like pastrami nachos and bacon-wrapped meatloaf, Guard said. That way, staff can easily move between the restaurant’s locations.

Guard said he hopes to eventually have five Tag locations throughout Denver and open two more Los Chingones.

Guard’s other Highlands restaurant will open sometime this summer, he said. It’ll be a similar concept to Tag, but Guard said he hasn’t decided if it will fall under that brand.

“It might be more like a tavern, but we’re debating what the best name will be over there,” he said. “It’ll definitely have burgers, but it’s going to be a family-friendly place, so we’re going to put salads and entrees on the menu, as well.”

Guard said he signed a 10-year lease on the Highlands property, located at 3940 W. 32nd St., in December. He is investing $875,000 in the 2,500-square-foot restaurant, he said.

Guard has been eying the location – the former Highlands Asian Grill – as a potential Tag restaurant for the last decade, he said.

“I used to live in Lakewood and I would drive by it all the time,” Guard said. “Sure enough, 10 years later, here I am with an opportunity for that spot.”

Guard said he went with burgers because that neighborhood is saturated with Mexican and Continental food, his other two specialties.

Looking further into 2016, Guard is planning two more concepts in the DTC and another restaurant in Stapleton.

Guard, 44, began working in the restaurant industry in Seattle at age 13. In 2009, he founded Tag Restaurant, his first eatery, at 1441 Larimer St. He’s also the owner of two Bubu restaurants, Guard and Grace, and Sugarmill.

Troy Guard. Photos courtesy of Guard.

Troy…

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