Dining In Grand Junction: Q&A with Bin 707's Josh Niernberg

Bin 707 Foodbar, the creation of professional snowboarder-turned-chef Josh Niernberg, is a vibrant component of Grand Junction’s burgeoning culinary scene. Featuring a diverse, seasonal menu predominately sourced from local ingredients, Bin 707 has been a favorite in Grand Junction since it first opened in 2007. To get a closer look at what has made the eatery such a success, we caught up with Niernberg for a quick chat about his culinary influences, his love of food and his favorite things about Grand Junction.

What are your favorite things about Grand Junction?

Grand Junction is, geographically speaking, the gateway to all that is good: skiing, snowboarding, fishing, biking, cycling, motorcycle touring, climbing, nature, views, produce, wine…the list goes on. It is breathtakingly gorgeous on a daily basis, year-round.

How would you describe the culinary scene in Grand Junction?

Young, growing, focused, responsible. We have great produce, meats, wines, beer and spirits right here. The more we use these resources, the higher the overall quality, the lower the environmental impact, the stronger our local economy and the greater sense of community for all of us! It’s really exciting to be a part of.

Why do you think your restaurant has been such a success?

We have been really lucky. We have, since day one, been focused on local first, Colorado second and domestic third. The practice of this model has enabled us to create relationships with purveyors we wouldn’t have made otherwise. We also spend our advertising budget on giving back to our community through non-profit events and fundraisers, rather than print or radio advertising. Finally, we are priced right. We serve some of the most high-end cuisine in western Colorado, alongside a burger with the reputation of being the best in town priced at $8 with fresh hand-cut fries ($7.07 during happy hour). Thus: We're good, we're cheap and we are economically and environmentally responsible.

What are your biggest influences as a chef and as a restaurateur?

Of course Thomas Keller, but past that, David Chang and the Momofuku empire, Wylie Dufresne, Danny Meyer, the whole "Mission Street Food” idea, as well as some of my past employers such as Kevin Taylor and Sean Yontz. I studied Industrial Design, and that is the basis for Bin 707 Foodbar, where we provide a product designed to be cohesive in all aspects, from the moment you step toward the door, until the moment you leave.

What sort of experience can guests expect in an evening at Bin 707 Foodbar? What makes the experience at your restaurant different from others?

We offer food that our guests are familiar with, but which they have likely never seen before. Items like our Cobb Salad, for example, which has a crispy, breaded soft-boiled egg atop local greens with a local blue cheese, brined and roasted Colorado free-range chicken, locally grown heirloom tomatoes and so on, alongside items that are likely completely foreign, such as a Composed Salad of Smoked Radish and Marinated Palisade Peaches with Puffed Barley and Midnight Blue Cheese, or Cured Skuna Bay Salmon with Crispy Shallots and Créme Fraîche Ice Cream. We provide full service, all the time. We open the door for you, we serve our wine in polished crystal and we make one-off handcrafted cocktails with locally distilled spirits and fresh squeezed juices. We're the kind of place that tries to do it right, whatever the "it" is. We try to make it better. Our service is friendly and not formal, but polished and efficient. We do not offer reservations because all of our guests are VIPs. Our motto is simply, "We Aim To Please!"

For more info, visit www.bin707.com