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Since the doors opened at The Kitchen in Boulder, this restaurant group with heart has played an integral part in Boulder’s booming food scene.  The idea behind The Kitchen is one of community and the camaraderie is felt the minute you walk in the door; the cluster of restaurants considers themselves a family. It includes: The Kitchen [Upstairs] a wine, beer, and cocktail lounge complete with a fireplace, an extensive beer list, and wood-fire oven, The Kitchen [Next Door] a community pub with farm-to-table food in a casual and kid friendly atmosphere ($2 from every kids meal is donated to help plant gardens in local schools), and The Kitchen, a bistro with a farm-to-table menu reflecting simple and straightforward preparation of comfortable classics.  Boulderites have been fortunate enough to experience The Kitchen’s charm and Denver will soon be able to catch the bug too; The Kitchen [Denver], is coming to town.

General Manager and Beer Director, Ray Decker was raised in the industry, or above it really, as he and his family lived above his family’s seafood restaurant in Northern New Jersey. He would get up at 4:30 in the morning to make the haul to New York’s Fulton’s Fish Market three days a week and even at a young age, Ray enjoyed it.  He started working for the restaurant as a dishwasher at 13 and worked his way up through the different positions, eventually finding his niche in the Front of House. Ray is no stranger to hard work.  He spoke to us about The Kitchen’s compassionate over-all philosophy and their newest addition arriving this spring.

Where did the idea for The Kitchen come from?

The Kitchen started as an idea between Hugo Matheson and Kimbal Musk about 9 years ago.  While out on a walk the two connected and learned of their individual passions for both cooking and restaurants and decided to start a venture together.  The key ingredient in their connection was the passion for quality of ingredients and the relationships with the local farmers in town.  This was a way of living for Hugo while growing up in England and it was the way in which he wanted to share this passion with the people of Boulder.

The philosophy behind The Kitchen is…

The grounding philosophy behind The Kitchen is driven by the community.  Whether it’s the farmers that grow our food, the schools in which we plant gardens, or the way we choose to serve our meals, community is the foundation to how we operate.  It’s a founding principal that has become a way of being for us at The Kitchen.

Why is The Kitchen important to Boulder?

Boulder although considered a City, and at times can be quite busy definitely has a very “local” feel to it.  I feel that restaurants like The Kitchen have a way of bringing people together through good food, service and locality.  It’s a place where you’re likely to sit directly next to the person that was picking your vegetables that morning, or possibly brewing the beer that is on your table.

Your favorite Colorado local products or produce?

If I had to choose my favorite Colorado product, it would be the amazing beer that this state produces.  Breweries like Avery, New Belgium and Oskar Blues are currently killing it and serving as mentors/role models for all of the great Micro Breweries that are popping up.

The produce that I love and usually can’t wait for are the peppers that pop up during the late summer/early fall, and then the squash that grow, specifically from Bob Munson.  I haven’t met anyone more passionate about squash then Mr. Munson, and if you ever get yourself in conversation with him regarding this, you’ll surely be entertained and informed.  Such an amazing guy…

What can you tell us about the upcoming Denver location?  How will it be different from the Boulder location? 

The Kitchen [Denver] will be amazing… It’s located on the SW corner of 16th and Wazee (1530 16th Street)  in the old Sugar Building.  Being built in 1906, roughly 7 years after The Kitchen’s Boulder location, Denver will have a very similar feel to it.  Exposed brick and rock, will give the space a very vintage feel, and the designers of the space will do their best to allow the beauty to shine through.  In line with the direction of The Kitchen [Next Door], Denver will showcase 10 different wines on tap.  The Kitchen [Denver] will embrace this trend that is gaining a lot of momentum in California, and it’ll be great to see how it’s received in Denver.  One area that will be different in Denver will be the private dinning room capabilities.  The space will allow for roughly 50 seats to create private parties and events. This will be ideal for our monthly “Beer and Wine Classes”, as well as our popular Beer dinners, especially around the GABF in September. Another area that will be different is the raw bar that will be located out front attached to the bar area.  Oysters, mussels and crab will be visible for all to see as the chef prepares traditional Fruits de Mer.  Definitely very exciting for us.

Us too.