Standing between two auto shops on 25th and Pearl, the 110-year-old red wooden building with a blue-painted address is somebody’s baby. The blink-and-you’ll-miss it restaurant called John’s is owned by siblings Corey Buck and Ashley Maxwell. It’s an establishment built on their passion for food. That’s exactly why Buck, the head chef, is in the process of tweaking the menu from the lessons he learned on a recent culinary vacation in southern France and Italy. There, the meal is the day.
Cuisine Scene: How did you come to own John’s?
Corey Buck: My sister was running The Peppercorn, I was working at The Flagstaff House…I did a catering job for this woman, somehow she was friends with the owners, and they were looking to sell the restaurant to someone who grew up in Boulder…which my sister and I did. They called us up one day, and we kind of thought about it for five minutes and decided to give it a try.
CS: How will the menu change from your European culinary adventure?
CB: Cooking in Europe brings a completely new meaning to eating; it’s a way of life more than a way of surviving like it is here in America. The trip inspired me to change the menu up and experiment with a simpler approach to cooking. We’re going to go a lot lighter with more infused oils and citrus-based sauces and vinegars and lighter, whiter fish. We’ll probably do a lot more fruit and vegetable-based accompaniments with the meat dishes. My food is very much an art. You always eat with your eyes…You see it, you smell it and then you taste it. Combine all three and it creates a nice experience.
CS: What is your favorite dish on the menu?
CB: Either the veal chop or the tuna—it’s sushi grade rolled in a little black sesame, pan-seared cold. I do it with coconut rice and a curry sauce, which has lime and ginger and garlic and then I do the tempura scallops with it. You get the cold from the tuna and then the super-hot fried scallops. It’s a great contrasting plate and has beautiful colors, oranges and yellows…It’s beautiful.
CS: Do you cook a lot at home?
CB: Not really. I do a lot of light salads.
CS: Aside from the kitchen at John’s, we would most likely find you…
CB: Relaxing, hanging out, riding bikes or playing tennis. I play a lot of tennis.
For info on John’s Restaurant, 2328 Pearl St. in Boulder, call 303.444.5232.