Selected Success Stories

Rioja

Jennifer Jasinski

Executive Chef/Owner

Business name:

Rioja

location:

Downtown

Reigning queen of Queen City cuisine

Denver is officially on the map as a culinary city, thanks in no small part to Chef Jennifer Jasinski. Co-owner of three wildly successful chef-driven restaurants, Jasinski was drawn to the Mile High City following a 10-year stint developing and opening restaurants around the country for Wolfgang Puck. Her career spanned from New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Chicago and even Paris before she decided to hang her chef’s hat in Denver.

“People thought I was crazy to settle down in Denver,” says Chef Jen, who recalls the “cow town” moniker and assumptions about heavy beef diets. “But I was pretty adamant about sticking to my style of cooking and what I wanted to do.”

That vision has paid off. Her first venture, Rioja, opened to rave reviews in Denver’s historic Larimer Square. Featuring a contemporary design and Mediterranean menu, Rioja was soon followed by the acquisition of Bistro Vendome across the street and the opening of Euclid Hall just around the corner. A fourth restaurant is also underway at the historic Union Station redevelopment.

“Small businesses really are the primary factor here,” says Jasinski. “I get to employ a family of over 200 people at three restaurants, which makes me feel great.”