The private-equity owner of the Smashburger chain has launched a new full-service restaurant concept in Denver.
Called Tom’s Urban 24, the casual-dining concept, which debuted on Oct. 31, is open 24 hours and serves, lunch, dinner and late-night dayparts featuring comfort foods with an “urban culinary twist.”
It was designed by Tom Ryan, founder of the 183-unit Smashburger and a managing partner with the fast-casual burger chain’s parent, Consumer Capital Partners. The Denver-based private equity firm is also working on another concept called Tossa Pizza, with one unit in Boulder, Colo. The firm previously owned the Quiznos chain, which changed hands in a debt-for-equity swap last year.
Tom’s Urban 24, however, is a unique concept that aims to take full advantage of dining needs around the clock, according to Ryan. But don’t call it a diner.
“It’s not a diner. It’s a restaurant and bar with modern comfort foods,” he said. “The adult casual-dining segment is populated by not-so-modern concepts. We wanted to bring a modern approach to everyday eating out.”
At breakfast, for example, served from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m., the menu might include house-made “Pop Tarts,” pastry stuffed with fruit or savory fillings; a breakfast burrito with chorizo and green chile; or pumpkin-spice pancakes with cinnamon-caramel sauce and salted-caramel butter.
Lunch, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., might be house-made pho with a choice of meats or veggie; hoisin duck pizza; or a grilled “flat-iron sandwich” with havarti, aged fontina, brie and house-made fig jam on sourdough bread.
Dinner, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., includes a selection of small and large plates, from truffle deviled eggs to fried “chickenlooper,” a nod to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.
Dinner and breakfast offerings come together on the late-night menu, served from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Guests can choose from buttermilk pancakes or an “Urban Slopper,” a “knife-and-fork” burger smothered in green chile sauce, grated Cheddar, pepper Jack, queso fresco, cilantro and pico de gallo on a brioche bun.
Tom’s Urban 24 also has a strong bar component with hancrafted cocktails, local beers and wine.
The menu emphasizes locally grown and produced products. A colorful mural in the restaurant highlights where many ingredients come from in Colorado.
The average check falls at or below $20 all day, Ryan said. At breakfast, it’s $10 to $12; lunch, $12 to $14; and dinner, around $20.
The 7,000-square-foot, two-story restaurant is located in Denver’s Larimer Square, a high-volume tourism center. Because it’s one of few restaurants open all night, Ryan said the concept tends to attract hospitality workers as they end their late-night shifts at nearby restaurants, bars and hotels.
“The ability to serve three-plus dayparts in places where people live, work and play is a great opportunity,” Ryan said.
Although it’s too early to project annual sales, Ryan said he envisions the concept as one that would work in other large cities, like Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Manhattan, Chicago or Miami.
“We’ve got some learning to do,” he said, “but we do have an eye on taking our great food out and about.”
As Smashburger does, the menu at Tom’s Urban 24 would incorporate regional flavors that fit with the location and ingredients available locally.
Ryan said it’s too early to say where the next Tom’s Urban 24 location might be, but the firm “has feelers out in several cities.”