Jean-Philippe Failyau and Pete Newlin have been growing their restaurant group with new concepts over the past few years.
But now, they’re ready to get back to their homegrown roots.
The founders of Gastamo Group plan to open a third Homegrown Tap & Dough location at 12622 W. Ken Caryl Ave. in Littleton in February.
“Over the last couple of years, watching Colorado and Denver, in particular, grow, we’ve spent a lot of time getting to know new neighborhoods,” Newlin said. “And the Ken Caryl neighborhood has amazing access to the outdoors and the Colorado lifestyle we all fell in love with. So, we really felt like Homegrown would be the perfect brand for the area. This location is designed to embrace Colorado’s 1970s and 80s ski culture.”
Gastamo Group opened the original Homegrown Tap & Dough in 2011 at 1001 S. Gaylord St. in Wash Park. They opened a second at 5601 Olde Wadsworth Blvd. in Olde Town Arvada in 2016.
The new 4,469-square-foot space was previously a Village Inn and will be Homegrown’s largest location yet, with 225 seats. Failyau and Newlin purchased the building in December 2020 for $1.7 million, according to property records.
They hired Austin-based Michael Hsu Office of Architecture to transform the old Village Inn into what feels like “a Vail ski lodge during the 1970s,” Newlin said. They built out a large patio with multiple fire pits, ski canvas yurts and picnic tables overlooking the Front Range.
Homegrown Tap & Dough draws on Failyau’s experience cooking at Michelin-starred Italian restaurants and features hand-tossed pizza, pasta, and Italian classics like chicken parmesan and braised tomato meatballs. Colorado touches include green chili pizza, sandwiches with meat from local ranchers and rotating beer taps from Colorado breweries.
Newlin and Failyau said the brand was well positioned for takeout and delivery during the pandemic, and sales are higher than 2019.
Kai Colegrove, previously chef de cuisine at Cherry Creek’s Halcyon Hotel, will be head chef at the new location.
Homegrown Tap & Dough’s new restaurant has the same classic Italian menu with gondolas for dining, just like the first two locations, as well as an arcade “for kids to play while the parents have a cocktail,” Newlin said.
“When we set out to build a restaurant for a community, our intention is to be operating this restaurant in 20 years,” Newlin said. “We want to focus on building these legacy brands, which is why it makes sense to purchase our building. We want to do it right from the beginning.”
Failyau first founded Park Burger in Wash Park in 2009, and then added Park & Co. in Uptown. And Newlin, a former waiter at Park Burger, worked his way up to partner.
Together, they’ve grown Park Burger to three other spots in the Highlands, RiNo and Hilltop. They’ve also opened three Birdcall chicken sandwich eateries, plus Perdida, a new sit down Baja-style restaurant that opened in Wash Park in February last year.
“Birdcall has a different trajectory and growth goal than other Gastamo concepts, but the goal of our group is to focus on that idea of community through hospitality,” Newlin said. “We want to build signature projects, like Perdida. When we focused on growing Birdcall for a few years we took a step back from these full-service dining restaurants. But Homegrown is one of our signatures, so we’re excited to get back to what we do best.”
The restaurateurs have no immediate plans to expand any of their other brands, but Newlin said they are eyeing the suburbs now more than ever.
“The work from home culture has changed everything. That in turn changes where it makes the most sense to put a restaurant,” he said. “As more people in the suburbs are calling home their office, restaurants are becoming their new escape.”