Comal Heritage Food Incubator Moving to Bigger Digs (Local News and Reviews)

Over the last six years, the Comal Heritage Food Incubator has evolved into an award-winning restaurant and training program at Zeppelin’s Taxi development. Led by the Focus Points Family Resource Center, innovative eatery earned a spot on The New York Times’ 2021 “The Restaurant List” for its international flavor and immigrant opportunity. Comal plans to reopen an expanded concept in a fresh 2,600-square-foot space at 1900 35th St. in the RiNo ArtPark in July 2023 (per a press release).

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According to its site, the Comal Heritage Food Incubator began in 2016 with a group of local Mexican women that were seeking to learn how to run a successful restaurant. Partnering with Focus Points Family Resource Center (a nonprofit serving low-income families in the greater Denver area), the restaurant launched with a mission “to foster and develop food-based entrepreneurs.” Since these humble beginnings, Comal has evolved into a food powerhouse that’s hosted dozens of immigrants and refugees from countries like Ethiopia, Syria, Venezuela, and Mexico. These predominantly female cohorts share the homemade fare from their home lands with the community while earning money and valuable on the job training. Like the comal, the traditional clay griddle for cooking tortillas that’s passed down from mothers to daughters, many graduates of the eight-month program go on to open their own kitchens. And Like extended families, this program will grow this summer.

Comal ArtPark this summer will add breakfast dishes and hours, a full bar, catering, events, and more to its current Tuesday through Friday lunch service. The new space is light-filled and overlooks the creative scene at ArtPark. Accommodations will include indoor and outdoor seating and “an extensive back-of-house, with a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen and commissary space” (per the press release). The kitchen will source fresh produce from Focus Points’ Huerta Urbana, an urban agricultural social enterprise. Not only does this count as a win for empowering marginalized people, but levels up a similar mission at ArtPark.

“We’re incredibly excited to welcome Comal Heritage Food Incubator to RiNo ArtPark,” John Deffenbaugh, senior director of strategy and projects with RiNo Art District, said in the presser . “Comal’s mission… aligns so well with what ArtPark is all about — sparking innovation and bringing our community together to champion creativity and increase access.”

Friday, April 14 will be Comal’s final service at Taxi. Until that time, the restaurant will remain open for lunch, Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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