Press release with some interesting Denver history:
New establishment in historic 1889 Ghost Building features tavern cuisine, craft beer, cocktails, new patio
(Denver, Colorado) Ghost Plate & Tap — a new establishment from the joint venture between Wynkoop Holdings and Breckenridge Holding Company — has completed its first month.Located in downtown Denver at 800 18th Street (at 18th and Stout streets in the former location of the Rocky Mountain Diner) Ghost Plate & Tap pairs the culinary pleasures of a contemporary American café with the charms of an established, big-city tavern.
The restaurant adds a new chapter to Wynkoop Holding’s 23-year run of ensuring that historic buildings remain vital in their local economies and culture.
Ghost features seating for 176, an open kitchen, a horseshoe-shaped bar and counter seating for 15. The Ghost interior calls to mind a distinguished-but- unpretentious Thirties/Forties era tavern in a grand American city.
There is also a newly expanded patio that seats 50.
Ghost Plate & Tap’s menu features a mix of old-school culinary classics, up-to-date eclectic dishes and elevated bar standards. There is also a small selection of menu favorites from other Wynkoop and Breckenridge eateries.
These dishes are prepared by a kitchen staff led by James C. Koch. His background includes chef positions at several acclaimed Denver establishments including Steuben’s, Atomic Cowboy and the late Brasserie Rouge. Prior to joining Ghost he was sous chef at Freestones City Grill, an acclaimed seafood haven in New Bedford, MA.
The Ghost beverage menu showcases 21st century cocktail culture and exceptional (and largely local) craft beer. The drinks list holds both updated versions of time-tested drinks and innovative refreshers. Many of these drinks are built with local spirits, house-made mixers, and fresh ingredients and ideas.
The 24-tap beer list features a mix of liquid art from Breckenridge Brewery and Wynkoop Brewing Company, and a thoughtful mix of world-class beers from favorite local and national brewing peers. There are also four local wines from Denver’s own The Infinite Monkey Theorem on tap.
A former National Historic Register property at its original location (at 15th & Glenarm streets in downtown), the Ghost building was slated for demolition in 1979 by Public Service Company of Colorado. But Brian Congleton, a young Denver architect, waged a one-man campaign to save the building’s glorious stone facade.
“I didn’t have money or sense back then,” Congleton says with a laugh from his office in Carmel, California. “But I thought somebody ought to save that building.”
Congleton numbered each of the stones of the façade with latex paint, then removed and stored them in a building provided by Public Service.
Several years later developer Sandy Brown approached Congleton with a plan to put the facade back in place, on a new building Brown’s firm would build. This move brought the Ghost Building back to life at its current location in 1985.
“I saved the facade, but Sandy saved the building,” Congleton says. “He deserves more credit than he got.”
Several Ghost cocktails are named for people who played a role in the Ghost Building’s history or pioneered Denver’s saloon and hospitality trade.
The list includes drinks named after Congleton, Brown, A.M. Ghost (the namesake of the building), Jack Kerouac (said to have frequented the building), Barney Ford (an early Denver businessman and civil rights trailblazer) and modern-day bar icons Bernard Duffy and Angelo Karagas.
Ghost general manager Murray Gorman is a 25-year veteran of the hospitality trade, including a stint for Wynkoop from 1988 to 1993. He returns to the fold after owning and managing several establishments in Kansas and handling food & beverage duties for the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.
In the coming weeks there will be events at Ghost Plate & Tap to celebrate its opening and honor the building’s former tenants, benefactors and heroes.