Acreage, the first culinary venture from Stem Ciders, is a collaboration by Stem, Chef Eric Lee, and Kelly Whitaker’s Id Est. Hospitality Group. Born from an inspiring landscape and a dynamic team, Acreage brings the urban cider house experience found in Stem’s RiNo taproom to the countryside.
Eric Lee – Executive Chef
Eric Lee began his restaurant career at the age of 14 working in a gastropub in Lyons, Colorado. He had always wanted to be a chef as a child, and his mother enabled his first restaurant curiosity by helping him get involved in a close family friend’s business. At 16 years old he moved to England where he worked at the Old Bell, the oldest operating hotel in England built in 942. When he returned to Colorado several years later his long-standing working relationship with Chef Hugo Matheson, now of The Kitchen Restaurant Group renown, began. A decade later Lee opened the downtown Denver location for The Kitchen as the Chef De Cuisine, their first move out of the Boulder community. Eric went on to work for many other exciting and vibrant establishments such as Big Red F’s Jax Fish House in LoDo Denver as the Chef de Cuisine. Chef Lee’s focus on sustainability made his time at Jax a perfect fit, building relationships with fishermen and assisting in their Monterey Bay Seafood Watch certification process while running a continually rotating menu in the busy Denver staple.
Eric’s career of 21 years in the industry has taught him not only the skills to manage a kitchen, but also how to mentor his team. Any cook who enters his kitchen eager to learn will leave a better chef with an ingrained respect for their product and craft. Each restaurant Chef Eric has led had different concepts, but his ability to find a vision and focus for the food while maintaining his local relationships always takes center stage.
As the Executive Chef at Acreage, Chef Lee hopes to strengthen his partnerships with local farmers and ranchers while pushing the boundaries of his years of culinary expertise. When the seasons bring more and more interesting and unique produce, the Acreage menu will consistently rotate, showcasing the bounty local farmers bring to our back door. This constant state of new encourages the menu to remain vibrant and fresh, using only what is seasonal and the most beautiful, in ways that allow the flavors of each ingredient to shine.
Stem Ciders was founded in 2013 by Eric Foster and Phil Kao, two passionate entrepreneurs with a deep appreciation for craft, and a strong commitment to reviving the cider tradition. Stem produces cider founded on three main principles: quality, style, and tradition. Stem has created a reputable and recognizable brand in the diverse category of craft cider, and as such, has received critical acclaim and awards at both the local and national level. To learn more about Stem Ciders, visit stemciders.com.
Id Est. Hospitality Group
Boulder-based Id Est Hospitality Group’s team owns and operates a variety of its own culinary concepts, and consults with restaurateurs throughout the country. The team, comprised of Executive Chef and Partner Kelly Whitaker, Partner and Events Director Erika Whitaker, Beverage Director and Partner Alan Henkin, and General Manager, Matt Husted, is behind Boulder’s acclaimed wood-fired eatery, BASTA, recently named on 5280’s list of top 25 restaurants in Colorado; and Æ (Ash), a mobile wood fired kitchen which caters events statewide, in addition to hosting unique pop-up experiences. Id Est’s non-profit, Noble Grain Alliance, is dedicated to educating farmers about – and encouraging them to grow – local grain, through a partnership with University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, while simultaneously creating a demand for the grain from chefs. The group’s newest concept, “The Wolf’s Tailor’ debuted in Denver’s Sunnyside neighborhood in late 2018.