Paul Comesky is a spontaneous guy. He saw a restaurant for sale in Denver and decided to buy it even though he had never worked in the food industry.
As a general aviation pilot, Comesky is nutty about anything having to do with planes and gave homage to that in the name Top Gun. And much like the 1980s movie, this restaurant is bound to be a classic.
The décor of the restaurant is unique due to more of that Comesky spontaneity.
As he was fixing the place up, a man came in to see what he was doing and the two got to talking about his military career. On a whim, Comesky asked him to sign the wall with his military information. Now the walls are covered with signatures from all facets of the military ranging from World War II to the Persian Gulf.
Pilots and first-responders are also encouraged to sign the walls.
The restaurant displays vintage posters of planes on the walls, model airplanes from the ceiling and uniforms on hangers.
Chef Stuart Getson doesn’t know much about planes but he sure knows his way around a kitchen.
In his early 20s, Getson worked in hotels and restaurants washing dishes, waiting tables and eventually trying his hand at cooking. He moved to Aspen and within a year and a half became the executive chef at a country club. It was in that mountain town of Colorado where he learned a different way of preparing food.
“It opened my eyes to a California style of Italian food – a whole new flavor profile,” he said. “Suddenly I realized there was so much I wanted to know!”
Getson moved from Aspen to North Carolina and met Comesky. But the two did not get together until about a year ago. Now they finish each others sentences and tell each others stories.
Getson runs the entire restaurant with two other people: Angel Dameron and Valerie Carpenter. The three do all the prepping, cooking, waiting tables, ringing up bills, cleaning and all other restaurant duties.
“If one of us calls in sick, we just make do,” Carpenter said. “But we don’t usually call in sick.”
The restaurant is moving away from it’s present incantation to a whole new arena.
The menu is going to have more ‘knife and fork‘ entrees such as pork chop and grits. The pork is grilled and then covered in a cream reduction with caramelized mushrooms and onions. The grits are fried and served like a polenta cake. The result is something you would nosh on at a fine dining establishment.
“We are even tweaking the name so it is more in-line with our new menu,” Getson said. “It is going to be called the Top Gun Café.”
Traditional diner fare will still be on the menu.
The restaurant has an emphasis on freshness with homemade breading, soups, hand-pattied burgers, vinaigrette dressings, marinara and chili.
Herbs from the garden out back are often used in specials.
The banana milk shake is made right in front of the customer by taking a banana and frying it before frapping it in the blender.
The cheese on the burgers, chicken parmigiana and other entrees are melted using a blowtorch.
“It’s fun for the customers to watch our open kitchen,” he said.
Getson is pleased with all the upcoming changes and happy to take baby steps toward the ultimate goal of an excellent café in Denver.
“We look forward to serving everyone a high quality meal at a decent price,” Getson said.
Top Gun Diner
1476 N. N.C. 16, Denver