The striking brick building on the corner of East 28th Avenue in Denver’s residential Whittier neighborhood has housed a couple of beloved hangouts over the years: M&D, a barbecue haunt, presided over this corner for over three decades, and the more recent Whittier Pub closed in 2020. The address now welcomes Point Easy, a laid-back new American restaurant run by Andy Bruch and brothers Denn and Dan Phelps.
“The name is just about taking care of anything that comes up before it becomes a problem,” says Dan Phelps, the restaurant’s general manager. “We are on the corner, the point, and we want everyone to have a fun and easy time when they join us.”
The team, who worked together at The Kitchen, a sophisticated, globally-influenced restaurant in Boulder, developed the concept for Point Easy a few years ago. Though they had sourced the space, the pandemic derailed their plans for a couple years. On June 29, the restaurant finally opened doors with chef Denn Phelps in the kitchen, Dan Phelps in the front of the house, and Bruch doing everything in between.
The bulk of Point Easy’s American and Italian-inspired menu is locally sourced, which explains why the offerings often change. “Overall, what is available from the farms will dictate the printed menu,” says Phelps.
Currently, Phelps sources peppers from Hotchkiss, lamb from Longmont, and produce from Boulder—the farm in Boulder even provides a special proprietary leaf blend for one of the restaurant’s signature items, the Cure Farm Organic Green Salad, topped with toasted buckwheat and blue cheese.
Since the chef has his own mill and pasta extruder and supports the Colorado Grain Chain, an organization that connects grain farmers and chefs, fresh pasta will also be highlighted on the menu. “There will be some staples, those things people crave and will want to get often, such as pasta Bolognese, that Cure salad, and cheese and charcuterie,” Phelps explains.
He predicts matzo ball soup will make a regular appearance, too. “As a good young Jewish man, we have to have our Jewish penicillin.”
Aside from the regular menu, Point Easy offers an omakase-inspired Get Fed program. It’s centered around diners’ preferences: Simply tell the server about your likes and dislikes, including any allergies, and the chef will craft a bespoke tasting menu, unique to you. The number of dishes in the Get Fed option vary too, but snacks, a small plate, a large dish, maybe a pasta, and “some fun,” according to Phelps, can be expected. Though the cost is currently $52 per person, it’s subject to change.
“[It takes] the guesswork and distractions away for the guest, and leaves dinner in the hands of the professionals,” says Phelps, describing the Get Fed program. “You can go in and just say, ‘we have three people, feed us’.”
In the spirit of the Get Fed program, diners can ask the bartender to create a surprise drink, based on personal tastes. The bar also features wines by the glass and bottles that bring attention to smaller producers, biodynamic wines, and lesser-known names from around the world. Beer and classic cocktails round out the drinks lineup. Much like the food menu, the drink list will be ever-evolving, Phelps says.
With 75 seats inside and 25 seats on the outdoor patio, there’s a lot of room for diners to spread out at this easygoing joint. Though the original brick facade remains unchanged, the inside was designed by the Denver-based firm, Regular Architecture. Eye-catching highlights include a textured, geometric ceiling design and Art Deco-style light fixtures hanging above the bar and main seating area.
The Art Deco accents stretch to Point Easy’s 18-seat bar, surfacing in the form of inlaid wood; sturdy high-top chairs complete the simple but stylish vibe.
“A third of the dining room is high tops, which give a nice lounge environment,” says Phelps. “I think it feels warm and cozy without being too tight.”
He says the brothers remember this storied space when it was M&D Cafe—as neighborhood residents, they would often stop in for barbecue.
“We have memories of popping by M&D and having a nice plate,” Phelps says. “Whittier is a little underserved in the food department, so it’s nice to fill a gap.”
Point Easy is now open from Wednesday through Sunday from 5 pm to 9 pm. Eventually, there will be full weekend brunch service.
Freelance journalist Linnea Covington lives and eats in Denver, the best place for green chili and epic hikes with fantastic sandwiches.