Blackbelly has always been a big deal. That its chef and owner, Hosea Rosenberg, won season five of Top Chef in 2009 certainly helped the East Boulder deli (1606 Conestoga St., Unit 3) and butcher shop make an initial splash. But in the near decade that followed, Hosea and his wife and business partner Lauren Feder Rosenberg have become community fixtures, proving time and time again they are anything but a flash in the pan.
Blackbelly began as a food truck and catering business, but by 2014 had morphed into a full-service brick-and-mortar restaurant.
“Its mantra is, and always will be, that excellent food must come from excellent sources,” says Lauren, who also acts as Blackbelly’s communications director.
In 2016, Blackbelly added a butcher counter next door, which focused on whole animal butchery, clean sourcing, community outreach, live demos and some of the best breakfast burritos Boulder Valley had ever seen.
On March 6, Blackbelly Market reopened in the west-facing portion of the same building that holds the restaurant. The former butcher shop entrance has been converted into an outstanding 32-seat private dining area, the Heritage Room, while the space that once held a Quizno’s has been transformed into an updated market area.
“The whole inspiration for this is there was a Quizno’s here and it went out of business,” says Hosea wryly.
The new space features almost double the seating, a massive mural by local artist Olive Moya and large windows with unobstructed views of the mountains.
“With this space, we hope to encourage a little more engagement,” says Market Manager Kyle Kralowetz, noting that while the old room was not necessarily cramped, the new dining area is furnished with leisure in mind.
The Heritage Room comes complete with a bar and can easily hold 50 when standing. The work of Boulder-based painter Will Day is displayed on the walls and the full A/V equipment is available for meetings of any kind. A moveable bar sits cornerside, with the place screaming for meaningful receptions and more casual functions.
The butchers have more room to roam, with a full catering-centered kitchen still in the works. Hosea says giving the team a well-lit space to work in was a big motivation for the remodel. The same cuts, sourced from local farms like 7X Cattle Company, Buckner Family Ranch and McDonald, are all available. The breakfast burritos still run the morning hours, though now there’s a full espresso program to wash them down with. There’s a slightly expanded lunch menu, alongside an entirely new selection of house-made breads, pastas, sauces and premium oils and vinegars. A full section of pantry goods — olives, mustard, honey and chile crunch — help to round out what the team is calling the “picnic headquarters.”
“We wanted to sell stuff that goes with the premium meats,” says Lauren, noting that Blackbelly Market is a good one-stop-shop for grill and charcuterie essentials. Pans, knives, cutting boards and even chips for the smoker are now all available onsite.
The wine is thoughtfully curated, each bottle marked with potential pairings. The pastry program has been greatly expanded, with new pastry chef Madeline Stephenson draping the main counter in close to 10 items daily. This is up from the one or two sweets that were previously available. Stephenson, who recently migrated from Frasca, is also responsible for a full overhaul of the restaurant’s dessert menu. The chocolate tart, with Earl Grey and caramel ganache, and the pistachio tart with lemon ricotta, are alone worth an evening visit.
New to the lunch menu are the banh mi, with roast and smoked pork, pickles, cucumber, jalapeño, mayo and fresh herbs on a roll, and the massive muffuletta, a football-sized, two-person undertaking piled high with capicola, pepperoni, bologna, provolone and olive salad. Beer, wine and bottled cocktails are available to be enjoyed on-site or to-go.
Toward the end of spring, the team is planning on opening the front patio and extending into happy hour. Dubbed the Stamborski Beer Garden, after Blackbelly’s accountant Peter, the space is set to include yard games and a child and dog friendly area alongside a full smoker and drink specials.
“Obviously, the space is going to morph,” Hosea says. No changes have been made to the restaurant side.
Blackbelly’s continued growth is a nice reminder that fine dining and butchery can excel on good ethics. The Rosenbergs have always put mission first. The new market is just another way for them to send the message home.