Even in a city rich with steakhouses, Denver’s Guard and Grace stands out. Designed by KTI for chef-owner Troy Guard’s TAG Restaurant Group, and named for his daughter, this is most definitely NOT your father’s steakhouse.
Working hand-in-hand with Chef Guard and his wife Nikki, KTI designed a modern steakhouse with an interior that is less overtly masculine, and is filled with natural light, clean lines, and a sense of vibrancy. It is elegant without being stiff; a welcoming place for energetic power lunches, cocktails, special occasions, and evening dining.
KTI and TAG have collaborated on several restaurants, each one unique. Guard and Grace is their biggest collaboration to date, and features an open layout, inviting pops of rich color, and artfully combined textures that reflect the steakhouse’s fresh ingredients and innovative, yet approachable high-quality food.
“Our goal was to interpret Troy’s vision of a modern progressive steakhouse with mountain and urban influences, all while incorporating Troy’s personality into the design,” said Kimberly Timmons-Beutner, the founder of KTI. “He wanted this to be the best-looking restaurant in town, recognized for the design as well as the food. That was no easy feat when working with a chef as talented as Troy, but we were up for the challenge.”
To create a space that matched the food, KTI started with the entry. Guests are brought into the restaurant along a curved wall of oxidized steel panels and a lush living wall, highlighted by hand-blown glass spheres hung at different heights. Once inside, they are met with a glassed-in wine cellar holding over 3,000 bottles of wine. The centerpiece of the restaurant is the open kitchen, which creates a sense of transparency that is echoed in the large storefront windows. Natural light is supplemented by synergistic suspended clusters of lighting.
In the open layout of the main dining room, sculptural seating and a variety of whimsical elements on the ceiling and walls ensure that each table feels intimate. Acoustical tiling, panels, and batting, as well as upholstered booth seating help ensure that the popular restaurant’s bubbling energy – especially from its central bar – doesn’t detract from diners’ conversations. Three separate dining rooms are available for private events or overflow guests.
To further set the restaurant apart, KTI added unique and unexpected details, including bold red “steer art” on the focal wall, classic rock-and-roll art tiles in the men’s restroom, a rope wall, and a hopscotch run outside the private dining rooms. These innovative touches create an invigorating atmosphere that adds edginess to this sophisticated urban steakhouse.
“We met Troy’s challenge by designing a one-of-a-kind atmosphere that epitomizes ‘Colorado Urban Chic.’ Guard and Grace is a memorable modern steakhouse—and not just for the food. The combined textures, materials and architectural sophistication creates a real impression. We couldn’t be happier with the end result,” said Amanda Fairbairn, KTI Project Manager.
The restaurant opened four months ago, and was just named “Best Steakhouse” by lifestyle magazine 5280, which noted the open layout and modern vibe in their write-up. In July, KTI was awarded its first two awards for Guard and Grace: two prestigious ASID Crystal awards from the American Society of Interior Designers, one for Best Hospitality Design and another for Best Custom-Designed Element for the restaurant’s hostess station. More recognition is sure to follow.
In addition to Guard and Grace, KTI has collaborated with Troy Guard on the eponymous Tag Restaurant and Bubu, which opened July 17 in Larimer Square in downtown Denver.
Guard says that the decision to work with KTI again was obvious, based on the quality of their work and previous success together.
“In the restaurant business, you don’t get a second chance on design,” Guard said. “You can make small changes, but you have to get it right. With KTI, we have a mutual respect and can play off each other’s strengths. An idea is not mine or theirs; but just the best design.”