Get ready for bison bourguignon and French Denver omelets.
Los Angeles’ premier French chef Ludo Lefebvre will open his first restaurant outside of California and inside the new Thompson hotel in downtown Denver, he says.
Chez Maggy, named for Lefebvre’s late Colorado-based mother-in-law, is slated to debut sometime in November, along with the boutique hotel (now owned by Hyatt) at 16th and Market streets.
“I’m very excited to bring a little bit of French flair to Denver like I did in Los Angeles,” Lefebvre said. “I always wanted to do something in Denver, and I’m very excited to find a place to do this.”
Lefebvre first announced tentative plans in 2018 to expand his small restaurant group to Denver, his wife Krissy Lefebvre’s hometown, where the couple and their two kids spend holidays with family.
In the L.A. area, the chef runs two locations of his beloved Petit Trois bistro. Prior to the pandemic he also ran — and garnered a Michelin star for — his tasting menus at the higher-end Trois Mec in Hollywood.
Troic Mec closed last year as a result of losses suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic. The year before, the family suffered a much greater tragedy when Krissy’s step-mother, Margaret Braun, was killed outside of Denver in a car crash caused by a drunk driver.
“This is to pay homage to her,” Lefebvre said of Margaret and Chez Maggy, adding, “We are very connected to Denver.”
At the Thompson, Lefebvre will create food menus for Chez Maggy as well as for the hotel’s bar, its coffee shop and even in-room dining. Guests and visitors can expect all-day, brasserie-style meals, French bar snacks and fresh pastries.
And while the chef will certainly make his versions of classic dishes such as tartare, onion soup and escargot, he also doesn’t take his own tradition too seriously. Chez Maggy will serve a “French burger” probably akin to its sister restaurants’ “Big Mec” made with double patties, bordelaise, frites and special sauce.
Also potentially on the table: “A whole menu of steak frites,” Lefebvre said, featuring different cuts of meat paired with different sauces.
In his typical genial fashion, Lefebvre said he’s up for the new hotel partnership, which adds a lot of support — and certainly more security — to an independent restaurateur coming out of the pandemic. He’ll be in Denver “a lot” for the new restaurant, and he’s also working with Colorado chef Chase Wilbanks, who will otherwise lead the kitchen.
“I like it, it’s something new for me,” Lefebrve said of the opportunity, adding that Denver and L.A. are not so far off, really, and neither is California-based French cooking.
“French is also part of who I am, so the restaurant is going to be very Ludo-style.”
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