The Kitchen Next Door Glendale

The Kitchen Next Door Glendale

With Fridays now in its 49th year, the phenomenon it birthed is now in middle age, and the newest breed of imitators looks as different from the first Fridays as streaming audio does from eight-track tapes. But as I downed a stiff margarita and snacked on kale chips at the six-month-old Kitchen Next Door Glendale, I saw two concepts with the same DNA, both trying to create a hip environment where folks could connect over drinks and grab a meal. Only at Next Door Glendale, hip means bare-bulb pendant lamps hanging from soaring ceilings, curved-leg cafe tables and green-and-white subway tile, not Tiffany-style lamps and red-and-white-striped awnings.
the kitchen next door glendale 1

The Kitchen Next Door Glendale

In Glendale’s CitySet, though, there is no Kitchen — not next door or anywhere else. The Next Door brand has grown up and is cavorting among the other restaurants in this project, vying for your after-work dollars all on its own — or as much on its own as kids with semi-famous parents can. In real terms, this means that instead of starting your meal with caviar or oysters on the half-shell, as you might at the Kitchen, you start with those kale chips and maybe some sliders, especially if you arrive before 6 p.m. and are taking advantage of the community-hour menu. And I suggest you do: Nothing on the abbreviated lineup of snacks and drinks is more than $5, and you can easily put together a small meal. Sliders, which come one to a plate, are offered in three versions, all on sweet, puffy brioche from Izzio (the bakery arm of what used to be Udi’s). The cheeseburger slider, made with grass-fed, grass-finished Colorado beef, always disappeared first, even the night the patty straddled the line between well-seasoned and over-salted. Friends loved the pork slider, with arugula, salsa verde and the same slow-roasted pork that distinguishes the toasty cubano. But my favorite was the vegetarian option, made of beets rather than the more pedestrian black beans or quinoa. Topped with lemony arugula, caramelized onions and feta, the jewel-toned patty was good enough to make me wish I’d ordered the full portion.
the kitchen next door glendale 2

The Kitchen Next Door Glendale

In some respects, I wish Next Door Glendale were a Kitchen Lite, with more seasonal salads and less pub fare, or even a Kitchen 2.0, a fast-casual — with a bar, of course — in the same lovely, sunlit space. But that’s to ignore what this restaurant wants to be: its own hip, casual, somewhat healthy being. And with that goal, it fits into the current Denver scene far better than any global chain.
the kitchen next door glendale 3

The Kitchen Next Door Glendale

The Kitchen Next Door opened in February, part of the CitySet development that is Glendale’s attempt to drive some of Denver’s dining traffic its way. Take that, Cherry Creek, you can practically hear the enclave’s leaders say with long-simmering kid-brother envy.
the kitchen next door glendale 4

The Kitchen Next Door Glendale

If sliders, smashers and chips (made from kale, but fried all the same) sound more like pub grub than the kind of farm-to-fork fare you associate with the Kitchen, that’s because it is. Next Door Glendale is positioned as a community pub — the phrase appears as a tagline on the menu — so in addition to bar snacks, it also offers such entrees as bangers and mash and fish and chips. I skipped the former, since the weather was too hot to make the dish appealing. I did order the fish and chips, but later wished I hadn’t, given the heavy beer batter and how much oil was left in the basket.
the kitchen next door glendale 5

The Kitchen Next Door Glendale

Not that I needed it, given the heaping basket of crispy garlic smashers we paired with the sliders. Fridays has its loaded potato skins, but Next Door Glendale has its mesmerizing smashers, which make you forget that fried foods aren’t good for you and that you’re trying to eat healthier these days, this being bathing-suit season and all. Blanched, pressed, roasted and fried, the labor-intensive fingerlings arrived with as many edges as an octopus, crispy tentacles of starch coated in raw-garlic butter, parsley and Parmesan. The hummus, which doesn’t hide the fact that it’s made from chickpeas and has more in common with chunky, country-style pâté than the silky, tahini-heavy version favored by Middle Eastern restaurants, was also very good, especially on grilled rounds of flatbread.
the kitchen next door glendale 6

The Kitchen Next Door Glendale

The Kitchen Next Door is a casual offshoot of the Kitchen, the high-end, community-oriented bistro founded in Boulder a decade ago at the lift-off point of the local, seasonal and sustainable movements. “When we thought of the Kitchen ten years ago, it resonated with people, and we called it a community restaurant,” says co-founder Kimbal Musk. But “when you limit the community based on what people can afford, it doesn’t feel good, so five years ago, put our heads together and said, ‘There’s got to be a way to put a lower price point to reach more people'” — all the while keeping the food simple and the experience fun. The original Kitchen Next Door debuted in 2011 next to the Kitchen in Boulder; the third opened in Union Station just two weeks ago, two blocks from the Kitchen in downtown Denver.
the kitchen next door glendale 7

The Kitchen Next Door Glendale

The Kitchen Next Door, part of the expanding Kitchen group, has a different agenda. Like its predecessor, the Kitchen Next Door Boulder, it has an easygoing atmosphere and lower-key menu. It is one of those places where the happy-hour vibe continues long after the discount drinks are stoppered until the next day. (3 to 6 p.m., for the record.)
the kitchen next door glendale 8

The Kitchen Next Door is largely fulfilling its mission, starting with its look. Open and airy, the dining room features three windowed walls in full let-there-be-light mode.
the kitchen next door glendale 9

Cheeseburger* 10.95 Cheddar, lettuce, tomato & onion Pineapple Express* 13.95 Bacon, pineapple, swiss, arugula & honey sriracha Next Door 50/50* 11.95 Cremini mushrooms & beef patty, swiss & balsamic onions Baja* 13.95 Guacamole, cilantro slaw, roasted jalapeños & lime crema
the kitchen next door glendale 10

Travel67D Colorado Springs, Colorado Level Contributor 22 reviews 7 restaurant reviews 9 helpful votes “Nice choice of menu items – something for everyone!” Reviewed March 30, 2017 via mobile We were staying at a nearby hotel so Next Door was within walking distance. We wanted a light, healthy dinner. The hummus was the best I've had anywhere – fresh with good flavor and texture. The kid's menu had real food items. The tomato soup was great. Highly recommend this place! Helpful? Thank Travel67D Report
the kitchen next door glendale 11

“Nice choice of menu items – something for everyone!” Reviewed March 30, 2017 via mobile We were staying at a nearby hotel so Next Door was within walking distance. We wanted a light, healthy dinner. The hummus was the best I've had anywhere – fresh with good flavor and texture. The kid's menu had real food items. The tomato soup was great. Highly recommend this place! Helpful? Thank Travel67D Report
the kitchen next door glendale 12

Another name-dropper was the Learning Garden salad, which refers to the company’s philanthropy. Two dollars from every salad has helped install nearly 200 gardens in schools across the country, including 37 across the Front Range and 101 in Chicago, where the Kitchen is slated to open later this year. Unfortunately, I liked the mission more than the mix; the kale-based salad could have used more pop than it got from sweet apple vinaigrette. And a side of chilled roasted carrots had all the appeal of a sentence without a verb; we’d ordered the dish to counterbalance our fried food, but the carrots needed more cumin, maybe some lime and cilantro, to really go somewhere. Then again, the lamb kofta salad didn’t just go somewhere — it hopscotched, skipped and jitterbugged, thanks to tzatziki, hummus and tender lamb meatballs scented with sultry spices such as star anise and cloves.