Chef plans to spice things up for flash restaurant

Lee Mathis

Phil Castle, The Business Times

A chef who’s literally made it his business to create decadent cheesecakes expects to spice things up for what he believes will be the first flash restaurant in Western Colorado.

The menu will feature, among other things, hamburgers, fries and chili made with peppers and plenty of them.

“I’m talking everything is going to be infused with heat,” said Lee Mathis, founder and owner of Decadence Gourmet Cheesecakes in Grand Junction.

Mathis plans to team up with Duncan’s Gourmet Street Food in Grand Junction to operate the flash restaurant. The event is scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Peach Street Distillery, 144 S. Kluge Ave. in Palisade.

A flash, or popup, restaurant, involves changing a menu or motif for a night, Mathis said. While the concept has become increasingly popular on the East and West coasts, he believes the upcoming event in Palisade will constitute a first for Western Colorado.

Mathis plans to cook from the food truck Duncan’s Gourmet Street Food uses in serving its customers in the Grand Valley. “It’s a huge truck.”

Mathis has dubbed the restaurant for a night “En Fuego,” Spanish for on fire.

While the menu remains a work in progress, Mathis expects to serve hamburgers made with a mix of Angus beef and bacon infused with jalapeno peppers, ghost pepper fries and a spicy chili he’s concocted.

That’s not to mention what he calls el diablo cheesecake, an appetizer made with ghost peppers, habanero peppers and jalapeno peppers combined with pepper jack cheese.

Mathis said there’s a fine line between food that’s spicy and food that’s simply too hot to enjoy, but he expects to approach that boundary as close as he can.

“I want to go to the cliff of heat and look over the edge without jumping off.”

The fare won’t be for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, he said.

“Wimps are not encouraged.”

Mathis expects the event to be popular nonetheless and perhaps inspire other flash restaurants in the area. “It’s going to be fun.”


Phil Castle is editor of the Grand Valley Business Times, a twice-monthly business journal published in Grand Junction. Castle brings to his duties nearly 30 years of experience in editorial management positions with Western Colorado newspapers. In addition, his free-lance work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the Washington Post. He holds a bachelor's degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University.
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