The Buzzed Crow Bistro opened Feb. 4, 2023, at 5853 Palmer Park Blvd., the former (revolving door) location of Sarge’s Grill, Slingers Smokehouse & Saloon, and most recently, The Stone’s Sports Grill & Bar, which shuttered this past November, on its year anniversary.
According to owners Jennifer and Dean Bennett, their eatery/bar’s theme is “based loosely on the movie The Crow.” (Yes, the 1994 cult film starring Bruce Lee’s son Brandon Lee, who was killed during the film’s making when a firearm stunt went wrong.) Jennifer says she’s been “obsessed” with the film ever since she first saw it in the theater, and she came to learn that her GM at Buzzed Crow, who happens to also be named Jennifer, was a huge fan of the movie too. During pre-opening renovations, when it came time to name their new spot, brainstorming lead them to this.
Dean also owns a neighboring business in the same strip mall, named Safety Station. And Jennifer owns neighboring Ink 182. They tell me both businesses launched out of their garage. Now, Buzzed Crow Bistro marks their first foray into the food and drink industry. When I ask why, they say they’d always wished to have a venue of their own for music — they have a stage and dance floor and are scheduling karaoke nights, live music and other performances. In a short press release, she also says:”Because the space is amazing! The Southeast side of Powers needs a family friendly restaurant with a unique menu.”
They’d become friends with Jennifer the GM, who was working at The Stone’s along with their final chef, Carlos Buhain, who has also stayed on through this transition to join the new effort. Jennifer the owner says “service and entertainment are huge for the four of us.” She and Dean hope to learn the industry from their appointed leaders, and as a team they aim to “elevate the bar food” and create a great neighborhood atmosphere, they say.
Buhain tells me he’s relatively new to our area, but has 18 years total industry experience. His dad was in the Navy and he was born in Guam. He did culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Las Vegas and also worked in the fine dining scene there. He says his strong-suits are in French and Italian cuisine, and among his stints since working in Colorado, he was the executive sous chef at Buena Vista’s boutique Surf Hotel.
He confesses that he’s still perfecting his barbecue game, but has been pellet smoking at Buzzed Crow Bistro with a mesquite-cherry-hickory blend, making everything from brisket and pork butt to wings and ribs, plus steak specials, such as a Valentine’s Day ribeye and prime rib for the Super Bowl. He’s overhauled almost the entire menu, save for one popular item that was served at The Stone’s: The Colorado Cheesesteak made with brisket, jalapeño, smoked cream cheese, house barbecue sauce and Pepper Jack on Texas toast.
He calls the menu style “Americana” — which basically equates to the expected fan-favorite bar bites. There’s onion rings, street tacos, smoked wings and ribs and burnt ends, plus pulled pork and fries, a build-your-own salad and three burger options, plus a steak sandwich. There’s also a pair of larger entrées: a grilled chicken or a nightly protein special, both with sides. Aside from purchased sidewinder french fries, Buhain says almost everything is from scratch cooking. He stylizes his burger patties by adding some bacon and bacon fat plus onions and whole grain mustard. There’s a pizza oven on the way, soon.
As for drinks, there’s a wide tap selection of local/regional craft beers and domestics, plus a cocktail list designed by the staff — hence all the names based off The Crow. While visiting the space, I sip on a house drink made with Denver’s Mythology whiskey that they’ve further aged on vanilla in a mini barrel behind the bar.
Buhain presents a couple of samples (pictured above). One is a just-created special he’s calling the Crow’s Egg. He’s taken his housemade, kids’ styled, cheddar Mac and Cheese and nested it inside a ground beef shell which he then wraps in bacon, smokes and presents over a puddle of Mornay sauce in which he subs the classic Gruyere out for Gouda instead, adding even more smoke flavor. It’s a rich bite.
Next, his Crow’s Original is his custom patty topped with bourbon onions, that same smoked Gouda, lettuce, tomato and a citrus-herb aioli, all on a delightfully airy French Kaiser Roll made by local Sourdough Boulangerie. The small pop of lemon acid from the aioli’s helpful to cut through the extra fat from the bacon addition (it bleeds bacon grease on your fingers) and the caramelized onion sweetness rides nicely atop the cheese’s smokiness.
Buhain says he’s just getting started, so expect more playfulness as the team finds their early footing. It may be a familiar setting, even if cosmetically renovated, in the old neighborhood, but the Buzzed Crow Bistro is definitely a new endeavor with fresh energy.