When Kimbal Musk built The Kitchen in downtown Boulder with his business partner chef Hugo Matheson, he thought being environmentally sustainable and relying on local ingredients meant staying small. Now, ten years later, “there’s been a big shift in our thinking,” he says.

Join Kimbal at Chefs Collaborative’s Food Summit in Boulder, Sept. 28-30where he’ll share his conviction that “we matter when we scale.” 

In three years, The Kitchen and his more casual Kitchen Next Door have expanded from two outlets to seven in the Denver/Boulder area with an eighth opening in October. In a metro region with 2.5 million people, Kimbal now serves almost a million people a year and spends $1.5 million on local, sustainably produced products.

“We need to demystify the ethos of ‘sustainable, local’ food. It isn’t precious. It’s just better food. We serve burgers and salads — very good burgers and salads — at the same price as our traditional competitors.” The trick? The higher cost of ingredients must be balanced out by high volume sales. “Good food becomes the better value.”

Eco-friendly Boulder has been a welcoming incubator for Kimbal’s concepts. When he could see that his restaurants also worked in the ‘real world’ down the road in Denver’s more conservative neighborhoods, he knew he was on solid ground.

Next up? Chicago.