Koko Ni to Leave Zeppelin Station, Move to Permanent RiNo Location

After 14 months at the Wazee Street “incubator,” Chef Paul Qui’s omakase-style eatery/western saloon will nestle in Denver’s art district
Koko Ni to Leave Zeppelin Station, Move to Permanent RiNo Location
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The new Koko Ni will open at 1441 26th St Denver, CO 80205, home of the former Biju’s Little Curry Shop, sometime this fall. The FAM Hospitality Group-owned restaurant will join two other FAM concepts in its Zeppelin Station departure — Thai Kun and Soy Pinoy. 

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“FAM oversees more than nine restaurant concepts in four states and has tried at least six of those in metro Denver,” explains The Denver Post, “primarily in food halls like Zeppelin Station and Tributary Food Hall & Market.” Zeppelin’s aim is to rotate restaurants, making it the perfect pit stop for budding concepts like Koko Ni, which is set to now thrive in its new 24-seat restaurant space.

According to Texas-based FAM, the new Koko Ni — already known for its unique amalgam of Japanese seafood and American farm-to-table dishes — will offer “whimsical, inspired bites, with items like local garden greens, handmade pasta, a lobster dish utilizing sustainable lobster purveyors from Maine, and a seasonal ‘bouquet’ inspired by the variety of flowers, leaves, and vegetables from Esoterra Culinary Garden, a small Colorado farm.” 

That said, What Now Denver caught up with Chef de Cuisine, James Gnizak, and FAM Hospitality Group Director of Operations, David Grossman, for a few more details:

WND: What were some indicators that it was time for Koko Ni to leave the food hall and stand alone?

DG: One of the first factors was that we found a location that fit the concept and allowed us to take it from what we felt was more of an incubator into a full-blown concept.

WND: What is the most exciting element of Koko Ni’s relocation to a permanent spot?

JG: The most exciting element of the relocation is the location itself. Being much closer to the heart of RiNo, we’ll be on so many more people’s radars. Our new space has a brighter ambiance, which allows us to emphasize the ingredients we’re using.

WND: What changes, if any, will Koko Ni incur from this move?

JG: The underlying importance of our food is taste, but our goal is to showcase the quality and beauty of the products and local produce we work with.

In the beverage world, we will focus more on being in unison with the food program. Our bar program will be more wine and less cocktail-focused. We are looking to add a lot of obscure and off-the-beaten-path wines that are familiar, yet surprising.

Koko Ni is a collective of all of our past experiences. We hope to continue to give the city of Denver an inspiring, thoughtful, and gracious experience.

WND: Which change is most exciting?

DG: The change I am most excited about is more of a focus on the food and products we are serving. We spent a lot of time focusing on the feel of the space at Zeppelin Station because of the space we were working in, but now we have created a space that focuses on food and beverage and allows that to be the true center of attention.

The restaurant will feel very different than the former version, but the backbone of the restaurant will remain the same. The focus is on food and pushing our team to think outside of the box and differently on each and every service.

Amanda Peukert

Amanda Peukert is a Los Angeles-based writer with a love for tattoos, music, food, and film. She received her BA and MFA in creative writing from California State University, Long Beach. Her work has appeared in/on SPIN, LA Taco, Tattoodo, Skin Deep, and Tattoo Energy. When she’s not writing, you can catch her listening to Alice in Chains and Tupac, or watching movies like The Crow and Halloween while eating tacos and drinking a cold beer.
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