Three new alumni-owned establishments have opened in the DU neighborhood since January. Here’s a look at the new spaces and their Pioneering owners.
Slotted Spoon Meatball Eatery, 2730 S. Colorado Blvd. Unit #19; slottedspoon.com
Owner: Alex Comisar (BSBA ’07)
Backstory: Taking a cue from homegrown chains such as Chipotle and Noodles & Company, hotel and restaurant management graduate Comisar and well-known Denver chef Jensen Cummings rolled out a new fast-casual food concept Feb. 4: six different varieties of meatballs — beef, chicken, pork, lamb and salmon, plus a black bean/quinoa concoction for the vegetarian crowd — that can be ordered plain, in a sandwich, on pasta or on a salad, with a choice of hot or cold sauces, including romesco, chili queso and garlic vinaigrette.
Steam Espresso Bar, 1801 S. Pearl St.; facebook.com/steamespressobar
Owners: Twin brothers Hani El-Yaafouri (MS ’08, MRLS ’10) and Zahi El-Yaafouri (MS ’01, MRCM ’01, MBA ’03)
Backstory: Hani El-Yaafouri (pictured) worked for Starbucks for six years in the brothers’ home country of Lebanon, starting as a barista and ending up in the corporate office. For their Old South Pearl café, the brothers went simpler, using reclaimed wood and other materials to turn a former photography studio into a destination coffee experience.
Maddie’s Restaurant, 2423 S. Downing St.; maddiesrestaurant.com
Owner: Gayor Geller (BSBA ’99, MIM ’01, JD ’04, MS ’08)
Backstory: Geller grew up in the Harvard Gulch neighborhood west of campus, and the breakfast and lunch spot he opened in January in the former Cozy Cottage space is filled with relics from the years he spent managing jam bands and music festivals — concert posters, backstage passes and more. On the menu at Maddie’s — named after his 2-year-old daughter—are yummy breakfast treats including housemade latkes and chicken schnitzel and eggs.