Chef Troy Guard is hopping on the Denver food hall train, and it will include his first foray into pizza.
The local restaurateur and founder of TAG Restaurant Group plans to open his nearly 13,000-square-foot food hall and brewery, known as Grange Hall, this August in the Denver Tech Center.
“In the last five years, food halls have become more and more popular,” Guard said. “I think customers are attracted to the price point, the social atmosphere and the variety of options.”
“And vendors can test out their concept for $50,000 or less, compared to building your own restaurant for hundreds of thousands or even a million dollars,” he added. “If it does (well), you can move on to something bigger and better, so it lends itself to people who want to dip their toes in the water or someone like me who wants to see if people like my pizza.”
Grange Hall will open at 6575 Greenwood Plaza Blvd. in Greenwood Village, where C.B. & Potts brewhouse was previously located for nearly 25 years. It will feature nine stalls, one of which will be dedicated to pop-up concepts.
“Maybe there’s some guy who works in tech all day long with the best barbecue recipe who wants to throw down for two weeks,” Guard said. “There will be opportunities for people who have never even done anything to try it out.”
The food hall’s name is inspired by the National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, a national agricultural advocacy group that started in the 1800s and still exists today. Guard described how ranchers back in the day who lived far apart from each other used to meet in what was referred to as a “grange hall” to trade produce and talk politics.
“Similar to the ranchers, we want to create a place to gather,” he said.
Guard plans to open his first pizza concept, which is yet to be named, in one of the stalls, as well as another Bubu location. The group has also signed on Lakewood-based Wasabi Sushi to serve ramen and sushi, and is getting ready to choose official barbecue, coffee, ice cream and burger concepts in the next two weeks.
Crack Shack, a San Diego-based fried chicken concept with locations in California and Las Vegas, will also be opening its first Denver-area spot within Grange Hall.
Guard and his business partners Kevin Hawkins, who owns Centennial-based Hawkins Development, and Ken Himel, a senior broker for David, Hicks & Lampert, purchased the property and its brewing equipment for $1.6 million in August 2019, according to property records.
The trio hired Greenwood Village-based Galloway & Co. and Denver-based 4Site Advisors to gut and renovate the old restaurant and brewery, which was built in 1995, keeping just the bar and the equipment. They had planned to start construction last April, but decided to wait out the storm of the pandemic and began this February instead.
“We didn’t build out 2,500 square feet of space because we’re going to wait to see if business dictates we need more stalls, a speakeasy or a meeting room,” he added.
The renovation, which Guard said took “quite a bit of money,” includes a stage for live entertainment, rentable space for events, and a new 2,000-square-foot patio overlooking the southwest side of Greenwood Village.
“On a good day, you can see Pikes Peak,” Guard said.
Grange Hall will have a head brewer to make its own beer on-site, rather than bring on an established brewing company. The brewhouse will offer lagers, ales and stouts, depending on the season, according to the chef.
“This is kind of the next step in growing our business,” Guard said. “If we can come up with a good beer and sell it to our other restaurants, that would be a great new opportunity. Everybody loves a good beer, and people will be able to stop by and take ours home.”
Although office traffic has been hit hard in the DTC as a result of the pandemic, Guard said he’s optimistic.
“It’s going to take a while for offices to come back, and even when they do, I don’t think they’ll be at 100 percent,” Guard said. “But Fiddler’s Green is right by us, and this area was just named an entertainment district. They’re also updating the movie theater and adding a new entertainment complex nearby, so there’s a variety of things to attract people here.”
TAG Restaurant Group, which was founded by Guard in 2009, owns nine restaurant concepts around Denver, including fine-dining restaurant Guard and Grace and TAG Burger Bar. In addition to Grange Hall, the company is also opening a fifth Los Chingones location in Fort Collins and one of his Bubu quick-service, noodle bowl restaurants in the Granite Tower at 1099 18th St. in LoDo this summer.