En Fuego pop-up restaurant packs the heat in Palisade Nov. 14 | PostIndependent.com

En Fuego pop-up restaurant packs the heat in Palisade Nov. 14

Jalapeno Peppers
Getty Images/iStockphoto | iStockphoto


WHAT: En Fuego pop-up restaurant

WHEN: 5-8 p.m. Thurs., Nov. 14

WHERE: Outside Peach Street Distillers, 144 Kluge Ave., Palisade

COST: $5-$10 entrees

INFO: http://www.decadencecheesecakes.com

Decadence Gourmet Cheesecakes founder and chef Lee Mathis isn’t just known for his sweets. He’s also gained a mighty reputation for cooking with heat.

“I want to run up the cliffs of hell, lean over and feel the flames singe my beard without falling in,” Grand Junction’s own Mathis said of his passion for peppers.

“We love what we do; we love making cheesecake. As with any other cook, you gotta play and you gotta push the boundaries sometimes.”

To share his love for tastes full of fire, Mathis is hosting Grand Junction’s first pop-up restaurant — called “En Fuego” ­— next to Peach Street Distillers, 144 Kluge Ave. in Palisade Thursday, Nov. 14. It will run from 5-8 p.m. or until food runs out. The restaurant will be housed out of Duncan’s Gourmet Food Truck.

“A pop-up restaurant is when someone takes over an existing place or a shell of a building and does a restaurant theme for just one night,” Mathis explained. “I’ve always wanted to do something like this.”

En Fuego’s menu will also be varied, serving both savory and sweet foods infused with ghost peppers, Trinidad Scorpion peppers, habanero peppers and jalapenos. Examples from the menu include Burnin’ BLTs (with jalapeno/habanero bacon and chipote mayo) to Ghost Chile fries; “flaming” burgers; at least one dipping sauce with Trinidad Scorpion peppers; the El Diablo savory appetizer cheesecake, made with ghost peppers and habaneros; and even a raspberry-habanero popsicle.

Combo meals will be available, along with appetizers and desserts. And with a moderate price range — think $5-$10 per person, generally — Mathis predicts a busy night.

The En Fuego crew will be prepping food from Grand Junction’s Business Incubator Center, he said, then cooking live from the truck. The public is encouraged to eat outside by Peach Street’s fire pit, or head inside the distillery for a drink with dinner.

“I appreciate hot food, too,” Peach Street tasting-room manager Rachel Clark said, “and (Lee) has a way of sharing it with people so it’s not too intimidating.”

Clark added that she’s hopeful for a good turnout, and that everyone will stay after the special event for an extra drink.

Though pop-up restaurants are becoming more popular these days, especially in urban areas across the United States, Mathis thinks this is the first example of a pop-up food shop in western Colorado.

And when asked if he’d do more down the road, he said: “Hell yeah! I have more in mind.”

For more information about Decadence Gourmet Cheesecakes, visit http://www.decadencecheesecakes.com.

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