Rooted Craft Kitchen Preparing an Inclusive, Uplifting Dining Experience

Chef Nicholas Kayser and beverage director Scott Ericson’s first brick-and-mortar restaurant will feature veteran chops.
Beverage director Scott Ericson (left) and chef Nicholas Kayser (right).
Photo courtesy of Lucy Beaugard Photography
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The one-two combo of Chef Nicholas Kayser and beverage director Scott Ericson closed their food hall eatery, Del Mar by Rooted, in February, but fans of longtime hospitality industry partners’ work won’t have to wait for long for the next iteration. According to a recent press release, the pair is planning to open their first brick-and-mortar restaurant, Rooted Craft Kitchen at 3940 W. 32nd Ave. in the West Highlands this May.

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This will be the third venture for Ericson and Kayser, but their first brick-and-mortar establishment. Chef Kayser told What Now Denver that they’d always had a “clear vision” for what a full restaurant would be. When the opportunity arose, Kayser said, they “couldn’t say no” to the chance to offer the best of their cuisine and craft drinks.

As to food, Rooted Craft Kitchen patrons will find nods from the Denver food hall eatery Del Mar in items like wood grilled oysters and other seafood dishes to highlights from the Boulder Rooted Craft location — Wagyu burgers and chicken sammies alongside creative salads, rustic sandwiches and innovative entrees.

“The incorporation of coastal- and woodland-inspired cuisine brings together the best of what we’ve created at Rooted in Boulder and Del Mar by Rooted in Denver while allowing us to further build out the menu in a way that expands on what fans appreciate about each restaurant,” Kayser said in an email.

Behind the rail, Ericson will bring 20 years of Denver bar experience to developing an “elevated” beverage program. Ericson is an advocate and an artist in delivering an extensive, “thoughtful” low ABV and non-alcoholic cocktail menu in addition to boozy sipping options.

“It’s important to us that we provide a place where everyone feels welcome and has the best experience,” Kayser said. “Offering house-made shrubs, low ABV options and creative zero-proof cocktails in addition to the full beer, wine, and cocktail menu just makes sense in curating an inclusive environment.”

This means eats and drinks available to all of the families and people that visit the West Highlands location that “felt exactly right” to the co-owners. The space’s approximately 2,400 square-foot inside is complemented by a “beautiful” 500-square-foot daytime outdoor patio lounge that runs along Perry Street. The 70-seat (or so) interior space will include an “open design” main dining room with an additional 12 to 14 seats at the bar. The “approachable, casual dining patio” will seat an additional 30 to 35 guests for “al fresco dining, snacks, and beverages” through the spring, summer, and into the late fall.

The full-service restaurant concept plans to bring on 30 to 40 employees to the operation and offer lunch and dinner seven days a week with a neighborhood brunch service on the weekends.

Matthew Denis

Matthew D. Denis is a Bend, Oregon-based freelance reporter with a predilection for existential expression. Be it art, backcountry exploration, overland road rallies, or Zimbabwean beats, Matt is there to describe the culture and expression that defines our humanity. You can find his work in ArtNews, The Register-Guard, The Manual, U.S. News & World Report, and more. When Matt's not typing on keys, he'll likely be exploring books, creative writing, or endless Western wilds.
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