CHOLON RESTAURANT CONCEPTS

How we started & where we’re headed

The Taste Behind Our Concepts

ChoLon Restaurant Concepts was co-founded and is operated by Chef Lon Symensma and Christopher Davis-Massey. In 2010, Lon moved from New York to Denver looking for new adventures and he partnered with Christopher, a long-time family friend and lawyer here in Denver, to launch the project that later became ChoLon Modern Asian – the group’s flagship restaurant.

Chef Lon Symensma

Chef Lon Symensma

Chef Lon Symensma

Christopher Davis-Massey

Before his move, Symensma earned two stars from the New York Times during his time helming the kitchen at Buddakan in New York City. He had already honed his skills and passions as an apprentice in France, Italy, and Spain at Michelin-starred restaurants and San Sebastian’s famed Arzak. At age 19 Symensma won a silver medal in the 1996 Culinary Olympics. He went on to spend several years training under Jean-Georges Vongerichten, including helping to open Jean-Georges Shanghai.

ChoLon, which means “big market” and refers to the largest Chinese-influenced market in Saigon, Vietnam, is Symensma’s homage to Southeast Asia and the years he spent traveling and living in that region. It was through this restaurant that Denver became familiar with Symensma’s keen ability to translate the flavors, textures, colors, and stories of the Far East into dishes that can be enjoyed for lunch or dinner any day of the week. (Indeed, Symensma’s soup dumplings have become something of a local icon!) It wasn’t just Denver that took notice of ChoLon either: In 2011, the restaurant was a James Beard finalist for Best New Restaurant in America and landed on Details Magazine’s Top 10 Best New Asian Restaurants in America. The accolades have continued through the years with nods from Food & Wine, Westword, and Eater Denver, as well as being listed in 5280 Magazine’s Top 25 Restaurants eight years since its opening.

In March 2015, the group opened Cho77 Street Food, Symensma’s modern take on Asian street food. Where ChoLon is polished and upscale, Cho77 is more casual, taking its inspiration from Thai food stalls, Vietnamese street carts, and Singaporean hawker centers. Eight months after opening, Eater Denver named Cho77 the Restaurant of the Year. In January 2019, the group moved Cho77 downtown next to LeRoux and ChoLon, where they always imagined it would be.

In December 2018, CRC opened LeRoux European Cuisine, named as a tribute to Chef Xavier LeRoux, one of Symensma’s early CIA mentors. Sourcing heavily from his culinary beginnings and the 10 years he spent working in the restaurant industry before he began experimenting with Asian food, with LeRoux Symensma focuses on Western-European fare and old-world wines, prepared with seasonal, local ingredients.

In November 2019, the group opened ChoLon’s second location in Central Park. Joining the team is Chef Michelle Xiao, who was a dim sum chef at Buddakan when Lon served as Executive Chef. Xiao has over thirty years of dim sum experience and moved to Denver from New York City in 2019. You’ll find her behind the dim sum counter as soon as you walk into ChoLon Central Park, showcasing her unique skills in the form of delicate dumplings.

Stay tuned for more information about upcoming projects!

THE MILESTONES OF OUR GROWTH

2008

ChoLon Restaurant Concepts are founded by Chef Lon Symensma & Christopher Davis-Massey

Oct. 2008

ChoLon Opens in Downtown Denver LoDo

Dec. 2018

Bistro LeRoux Opens in LoDo

Nov. 2019

ChoLon opens second location in Central Park

Nov. 2021

YumCha Opens in LoDo

Mar. 2024

Gusto Opens in Sloan's Lake

Mar. 2024

Cholon Opens In Sloan's Lake

Order a holiday family dinner kit from @ChoLon_Denver Central Park for pickup on December 24th! The kits are meant to feed 4 guests and will include 4 appetizers, 3 sharable entrees & 1 dessert for $99. You can also add a bottle of Sommelier's choice wine for $15! 🥟🍷⠀
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Orders are available beginning NOW through OpenTable takeout for pickup on 12/24 - link in bio! We will also offer our a-la-carte takeout menu via Toast Online Ordering. Orders will be available through 12/24. ⠀
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PS we will also be offering a holiday meal kit for New Years Eve! Stay tuned for more details! 💙
Happy Holidays, friends! ChoLon Restaurant Concepts is excited to announce that we're launching a gift card promotion for the month of December. Gift cards are a perfect holiday gift for any foodie and it's a great way to support your local businesses! 🎁🥟⠀
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Here are the details:⠀
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For every $100 gift card you purchase in the month of December we will send YOU a promotional gift card for $20 that can be redeemed at any location. Electronic gift cards can be purchased from any of our websites (ChoLon Downtown, ChoLon Central Park, LeRoux or Cho77) and can be used at any of our locations. The $20 promotional gift cards will be sent to the original sender's email address by January 31, 2021. Gift cards must be purchased in $100 increments in order to be eligible for the $20 promotional card. ⠀
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Additionally, if you order one $100 gift card from EACH of our concepts in the month of December (total of $400) you will be entered into a drawing to receive a complimentary one-hour virtual dinner for four guests with Chef @LonSymensma! We'll provide the food & Chef Lon will guide you on how to prepare a delicious meal from the comfort of your home. ⠀
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The winner will be chosen in late January on Instagram Live and then someone from our team will reach out to set up a date for the virtual dinner. In order to qualify, you must purchase one $100 gift card from ChoLon Downtown, ChoLon Central Park, LeRoux & Cho77 (total of $400) and email your receipts to holiday.promo@cholonconcepts.com. ⠀
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If you have any questions please comment below or send us a message! From Chef Lon & all of us at CRC, we genuinely appreciate your support and wish you & your loved ones a very happy holiday! 💙
To our community:⠀
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To say the last three months have been hard in the restaurant industry is an understatement. In the decades that we've worked in hospitality we never imagined navigating a worldwide pandemic and closing our doors for over two months. We've been working tirelessly over the past few weeks to bring back as many team members as possible, offer takeout & open our doors to the community once again.⠀
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But this is not the same community we left behind in March. Our community is in mourning. Our team is in mourning. For George Floyd, for Ahmaud Arbery, for Breonna Taylor, for all of the many lives lost to racial & social inequality. ⠀
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In our industry we pride ourselves on hospitality. The core of hospitality revolves around demonstrating generosity and openness, extending a hand out to all to join us at our table. Racism and bigotry have no place in our business - or in our world. We stand in solidarity with our Black community and with those who are protesting across Denver, the nation, and the world against social and racial injustice of all kinds. ⠀
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This is why today, on Breonna Taylor's birthday, as ChoLon Stapleton opens their patio and ChoLon Downtown heads into their first Friday service in two months, we will donate a portion of our beverage sales to @YAASPA - a local Denver nonprofit whose mission is "To encourage and support disengaged and underserved youth to participate in their communities socially and politically, in order to make changes within the community." ⠀
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We ask that if you choose to dine with us today - or order takeout - you'll consider enjoying a beverage and toasting to a brighter future. ⠀
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In love and solidarity, ⠀
Chef @LonSymensma, Christopher Davis-Massey & the CRC team
Every year on Super Bowl Sunday the ChoLon Restaurant Concepts management team gets together for a pre-party before our large employee holiday party. This year we had a blast at @avantifandb! Thank you to all of our staff for putting so much love into your work. ♥️ (P.S. missing a lot of faces from this photo - we love + appreciate all of you!)
Repost @LeRoux_Denver: “Setting the tables for the first time feels a little like magic. 🌟” — LeRoux opens on Friday, December 28th! Reservations open on the 23rd. ♥️