Grind Kitchen With Aaron Rodriguez

Grind Kitchen & Watering Hole is serving up some southern flare to Cherry Creek North’s culinary scene. Chef Preston Phillips food is rooted in his Alabama upbringing. You can definitely see the soul food influence within the menu. The eatery is a little tough to locate. But once you find it, you’ll be walking into a nice open dining space. There’s also outside seating, which is perfect for people watching.

This visit was special because I was joined by the talented fashion stylist Aaron Rodriguez, of 303 Magazine and Blank Canvas Fashion. We met a few months ago at the Winter In America II event at Jiberish. His work is amazing! He truly puts his own twist on the emerging fashion scene in Denver. This is the first Food With Friends feature for the @TDimery_Eats blog. Each month we will introduce you to a new artist, entrepreneur, or creative while grubbing on some delicious bites.

We dove head first into the lunch menu, ordering the Double Cheeseburger. This is one of the more popular items. The burger was topped with the traditional fixings, American cheese, iceberg lettuce, onion, house pickle, and special sauce. The burger itself had a wonderful flavor. The bun held up very well. I am a big fan of the flatter sized patties. There was plenty of cheese to coat each layer. This was a great pick! My only issue was the abundance of special sauce, and ketchup. It got pretty messy. I’d probably opt to have one of the other.

While we were waiting for our second course, Aaron and I had an open conversation about our crafts and backgrounds. I always enjoy learning about an artist’s creative process. The life of a fashion stylist is no joke. It’s a balancing act of personalities and creative individuals with different mediums. We discussed his approach from all sides, from brainstorming the concept, booking the models, to securing the right type of photographer. The part that really impressed me was his approach to sourcing the garments and accessories. He has found a way to get the job done in crunch time by utilizing relationships and being extremely resourceful. These are skills that can be used by all of us, at one time or another.

Next on the menu was a fried polenta dish that doubled as a salad. It was topped with spinach, radishes, tomatoes and drizzled with a sweet balsamic and olive oil. This was my favorite dish! It was bright and fresh. The presentation was on point. The fried polenta sticks well salted and the balsamic hint of sweetness just added another flavor profile. Lastly, we were served up the Grind Kitchen rendition of shrimp and grits. The difference maker was the tender meat and gravy that smothered the dish.

My big takeaway from this experience is that as creatives, we use our passion as a foundation to make something we can share with others. Both Chef/Owner Preston Phillips and Aaron Rodriguez both showcased their work in a public setting. Producing things that were made to evoke emotion. The world of fashion goes far beyond the designer. It takes a team to expose those designs to the masses. Likewise, a restaurant is only as good as its leadership. In both their respective industries, they are making a bold impact.

More About Aaron Rodriguez

1. Favorite Designer:

Living: Thierry Mugler, Thom Browne, Alexander Wang

Dead: Alexander McQueen

2. Favorite Denver Designer or Fashion Brands

Fashion brands: Ruckus Apparel, Black/Tuesday

Favorite Designer: Kotomi Yoshida

3. Favorite Restaurant: Wasabi in Lakewood

4. Must Have For Fall: A trench coat

5. Next big project the readers should look out for:

Visual Storytelling. I love creative writing as much as I love fashion and my latest projects are short horror stories in which fashion plays a key element and I'm bringing to life the outfits I write about through an accompanying photoshoot. My latest is a short vampire romance called "Brutal Romance":

Grind Kitchen & Watering Hole

300 Fillmore St,

Denver, CO 80206

#GrindKitchenWateringHole #CherryCreek #SouthernFood #Burger #Lunch #AaronRodriguez #303Magazine #FoodWithFriends

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