Olive & Finch is extending a branch to the Denver Performing Arts Complex.
Chef and owner Mary Nguyen said the restaurant is opening its third location in the 5,000-square-foot space at the base of the stairs, leading into the complex at 1400 Curtis St.
“We’re going to be the first person you see right when you walk in,” Nguyen said. “It’s going to give us so much exposure and also be a casual option for theatergoers.”
Nguyen started Olive & Finch 10 years ago in Uptown because she wanted quality, casual dining options in Denver. She opened a second location in Cherry Creek in 2017 and launched a sister concept, Little Finch, which opened on 16th Street this year.
“Denver 10 years ago was totally different in terms of the dining scene,” Nguyen said. “If you wanted something scratch made or chef-driven, you had to go to a full-service dining restaurant to get that experience.”
Olive & Finch has a casual, almost coffee shop feel to it, but offers breakfast and lunch, and has a small dinner menu. Nguyen said nothing on the menu is more than $20.
“This was something I wanted really deeply so I sought out to create it,” Nguyen said. “Our goal was to make food accessible and now there are a lot of places just like us.”
In the city-owned Denver Performing Arts Center (DPAC), Olive & Finch will keep the same breakfast and lunch options, but Nguyen plans to expand its dinner and cocktail menu. The eatery will be open daily, not just during show times.
“I think it’s also something needed in that neighborhood – it’s all fast food or fine dining,” she said. “I think Olive & Finch will really activate that corridor and space really well.”
The space, which is larger than the current Olive & Finch locations, needs a full buildout, including adding a kitchen. Nguyen estimated if the permitting process goes well it’ll open second quarter next year.
Before Olive & Finch, the space was home to Backstage Coffee, which was evicted in 2019 over unpaid rent.
“We’re really giving it an amazing face-lift, if you will,” Nguyen said.
In the meantime, Nguyen said she’s scouting out more locations to expand Olive & Finch and Little Finch.
“We’re seeing – after COVID – better numbers year over year, traffic is up … we’re doing great,” Nguyen said. “We’re looking at different neighborhoods right now and trying to make sure we’re making the right decisions.”
In addition to expanding the restaurant brand, Nguyen purchased the 13,000-square-feet production facility at 5500 E. Pacific Place in 2022 for $1 million, according to public records. The facility houses her wholesale business Olive & Finch On the Fly.