Avanti Group Decides To Not Bring Top Chef Restaurant To Denver Area

Daniela Kelly April 10, 2019
 Avanti Group Decides To Not Bring Top Chef Restaurant To Denver Area

Avanti Food & Beverage will no longer be bringing a “Top Chef” Austin restaurateur to the Denver area due to the backlash of his assault charges in Texas.

Avanti recently said Paul Qui would open his East Side King restaurant in May, filling the void in the food hall. However, Avanti representatives backtracked shortly afterward saying the gravity of the charges (though dropped) was something they underestimated and wanted to promote a welcoming environment for everybody.

Qui was arrested in 2016 for allegedly assaulting his then-girlfriend, but those charges were dropped in April when she decided not to testify in open court.

The company said they wanted to ensure actions spoke louder than words, cutting ties with East Side King and Aqui Hospitality. They said the community was their priority and would continue to support the culinary scene in Denver, which includes ambitious restaurateurs.

Aqui Hospitality Group/East Side King said it was disappointed by the decision, saying throughout the entire process the group was helpful and working in good faith for the common goal. They still support the open-minded and diverse Denver community and hope they’ll be able to come to the area soon.

Patrick O’Neill, Avanti co-owner, said he and the rest of the team believe East Side King would be a great addition to the area. He said they looked into the criminal matter and saw that the charges were dropped.

Before the dropped announcement, Qui said Avanti was his first step in bringing his restaurant to the Denver area. He said he was hoping Denver customers would give him a chance to cook for them.

Since the 2016 charges, Qui opened and closed numerous restaurants, hidden with some type of controversy. For example, he opened a restaurant in Houston, was reviewed by the Houston Chronicle, given four stars but 15 months later, he closed it up.

In 2017, he opened an Austin restaurant called Kuneho, and it was reviewed by the Austin Chronicle who asked if it was the chef’s redemption. The Internet acted quickly and harshly, which led to the restaurant closing not much longer afterward.

About the same time the court battle was coming to a close, his Dallas Tacqui opened, only to close six months later.

According to Qui, the last three years have been a wake-up call to get his crap back together, and he was hoping he could do that.

Qui rose to fame status when he won Season 9 of Top Chef in 2012 and was awarded the James Beard Award for Best Chef Southwest in 2012. He was at the Uchiko restaurant at that time.

In 2009, he, along with partner Moto Utsunomiya, opened East Side King in Austin, making a wide array of dishes including the Poor Qui’s pork belly buns and Thai chicken karrage.

Qui said he hopes people will give him the chance to move forward and cook for them, as this is who he is.


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