When Glenn and Lisa Kastner opened their new restaurant in Marshdale, they wanted a name that summed up their appreciation for their beloved mountain community.
“We live up here in the mountains, and there are plenty of animal dens around here,” Glenn said. “A den is inviting; it’s home. We wanted to have a place that felt like home.”
Since opening June 8, The Den has been serving pizzas, burgers and pasta to hungry mountain residents.
“We’ve probably had about 1,000 customers in the first month,” Glenn said.
The restaurant’s kitchen is right in the middle of the dining area, giving customers a look at the food being prepared and cooked.
“We wanted an open kitchen to provide a home-like atmosphere,” Glenn said. “Customers have said they feel like they are sitting in their neighbor’s kitchen having a conversation while we cook.”
Patrons can see the pizza dough being tossed, potatoes chopped for french fries and chicken prepared and placed on the grill.
“It’s a comforting kind of place to be,” Lisa said. “We wanted it to be family-oriented and have a home feel.”
That family feel isn’t just lip service. Glenn and Lisa’s kids, Levi and Coral, both help cook and wait tables.
“We couldn’t have opened without the help of our friends and family,” Lisa said.
The Kastners have worked in and for restaurants their entire lives. Glenn and Lisa both worked for Denny’s restaurants in management. They’re enjoying the freedom — and stress — of owning their own place.
“The best part has been doing this ourselves,” Glenn said. “We’re not working for a corporation and having to follow their instructions or menu.”
A dessert specialty at the Den is the Nutella pizza.
“We start by spreading out a Nutella mousse on our pizza crust, and it serves as the sauce,” Glenn said. “Then we add white chocolate chips as the cheese and fresh-cut strawberries that look like pepperonis. It’s positively wonderful.”
The Den also serves breakfast pizzas with eggs and a choice of breakfast meat as the topping.
“Many people haven’t tried a breakfast pizza unless they’re from the East Coast,” Lisa said.
Stacey and Chad Labombard were enjoying a chicken sandwich and a pizza last Saturday on The Den’s patio.
“We just kept driving by here and saw that it was opened,” Stacey said. “This is really good food.”
Saturday’s visit was the second time the Labombards had visited The Den. The couple are from Massachusetts and said it’s great to have a place serving good pizza in the mountains.
“This pizza is really good,” Chad said. “I’ve been waiting for a good pizza place up here.”
A hand-tossed 12-inch pizza starts at $12; each topping costs $1. Prices for burgers and sandwiches range from $7 to $11. The Den also offers a gluten-free menu.
The owners hope to offer delivery service and also beer and wine in the future.
The Den is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. The restaurant might close early or stay open late depending on demand.
“It all depends on how business is going that day,” Glenn said. “Just give us a call if you’d like to find out.”
The Den is at 6941 Highway 73 in Marshdale. For more information, visit www.thedenrestaurant.com or call 303-674-1376.
Contact Daniel Laverty at 303-350-1042 or Daniel@evergreenco.com. Follow Daniel on Twitter @LavertyReports.