Food Scene: Eat local with Bin 707 Foodbar in Grand Junction, Colorado
WHAT: Bin 707 Foodbar
WHEN: Open daily – brunch, lunch & dinner
WHERE: 225 N. Fifth St., in Grand Junction’s Alpine Bank building
COST: Moderate to high end
INFO: http://www.bin707.com, 970-243-4543
Editor’s note: If you’re part of Grand Valley’s food scene and want to talk shop, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When Josh and Jodi Niernberg, owners of Bin 707 Foodbar, transplanted from Denver to Grand Junction seven years ago, cultivating a business that played into Grand Valley’s burgeoning agricultural scene just made sense. While living on the Front Range, they met at work; Jodi was bartending and Josh was a server. Married now, together they operate one of Grand Junction’s most popular restaurants.
“I ate to live before Josh,” Jodi said of her husband, who — as executive chef — is the driving force behind Bin 707 Foodbar. “He taught me how to enjoy food. Watching his creativity is mind-boggling.”
ABOUT THE FOOD
Bin 707 Foodbar — located at 225 N. Fifth St., in Grand Junction’s Alpine Bank building — offers a variety of small plates, entrées and craft desserts, from mix-and-match charcuterie items and appetizers to the Bin Burger, lamb, pork belly and the Momofuku Crack Pie. Produce is often sourced locally — primarily from Blaine’s Tomatoes & Farm in Clifton and Field to Fork in Palisade — and the restaurant currently employs 62 people.
“Bin 707 offers seasonal, American cuisine for both economical and environmental purposes,” Josh said. “It’s designed to be affordable on a daily basis,” with a menu featuring a plethora of price points for brunch, lunch and dinner.
Josh and Jodi also live and breathe their restaurant’s “eat local” concept. A variety of valley sourced libations and house-made mixers (like bitters) are served at the bar, with dishes influenced by what’s currently in season.
“We focus on local first, Colorado second, and domestic third,” Jodi explained, with Josh adding: “It’s all about local food and how to re-imagine things.”
This idea carries over to Bin 707’s menu presentation, too — when customers page through its extensive drink menu, for instance, where an item comes from regionally is just as important to the description as flavors and price point. And, when applicable, that concept transfers to the food menu as well: Skuna Bay salmon, Tenderbelly pork and High Country Orchards peaches are all available to order.
Not sure what to eat? Jodi presently favors Bin 707’s Colorado lamb tenderloin ($29) and Josh is proud of the Bin Burger ($7.07 during Happy Hour and $9 the rest of the time).
“It’s become the backbone of the restaurant,” he noted. “We sell 150 Bin Burgers a day.”
Josh also suggests the Wagyu Beef Brisket from Snake River Farms in Idaho ($22) and the peach-glazed pork belly with melon carpaccio ($11).
Want to wet the whistle? Josh likes the High Country Julep ($11), which features Palisade peaches, while Jodi picks the Old Tom Gin Old Fashioned ($8).
ABOUT THE OWNERS
Josh, 39, is a fifth-generation Denver native with more than 25 years of restaurant experience spanning food production to business management. While pursuing a career as a professional snowboarder in his teens and 20s, he supported himself nightly in the food service industry before returning to school at 30 for a degree in industrial design — which he describes as “rapid prototyping and manufacturing.”
“It’s learning how to design something so it’s cost effective, can be replicated, then how to manufacture and market it,” he said.
Though it’s not a degree normally used in the restaurant industry, Josh believes those skills can support any type of business and definitely helped shape Bin 707 Foodbar.
Jodi, 34, grew up in Grand Junction and offers extensive bartending and front-of-house experience.
“I bartended all through college while earning a degree in behavioral science,” she said, adding that both passions are complimentary.
Jodi works as a real estate agent in Grand Junction with a focus on commercial properties when she’s not at Bin 707. To promote growth and development of her hometown, Jodi also holds a position on Downtown Development Authority’s board.
To bolster Mesa County’s growing agricultural scene, both Niernbergs additionally teamed up with Robin Brown, a local event planner, to host West Slope Supper Club parties. These pop-up, themed events kicked off in 2012; all proceeds are donated to charity.
In 2013, Josh confirmed that Bin 707 donated approximately $35,000 in cash, food, labor and more to fundraising events throughout the valley. Both Niernbergs support local fundraising efforts whenever they can.
Josh and Jodi moved to Grand Junction in 2007 to be near family. They first opened Bin 707 Food & Wine on Horizon Drive, then moved to their current location in 2011 with an updated restaurant concept and slightly altered name.
Craving comfort food? Jodi digs into macaroni and cheese, while Josh seeks out Vietnamese pho (a tasty noodle dish).
What about food they hated as kids, but love now? Josh and Jodi immediately started laughing, when Josh said “hamburgers.”
“I hated them,” he said. “I wouldn’t eat them.”
Savory or sweet? Both Niernbergs prefer salty tastes over sugar.
And if given the opportunity to create his own network culinary show, Josh said he’d craft an “eat local” concept, showcasing all types of Grand Valley grown items.
“I love being creative and I love working with my hands,” he added. “Being able to do both of those things with ingredients that other people can enjoy is awesome.”
For more information, visit http://www.bin707.com or find it on Facebook. Call 970-243-4543 with questions. Reservations are only taken for parties of 12 or more.
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