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The Squeaky Bean

The Squeaky Bean

Location: Denver

Check out their website: Here

Key Words: Seasonal, Cheery, Fun, Quirky.

For a good time, (make reservations): HERE


If you’re looking for a little fun, (and aren’t we all),  you can do one of two thing; work at The Squeaky Bean, or dine there.


Seriously? Sort of.


Johnny Ballen is the owner of The Squeaky Bean, a funky, fun restaurant in downtown Denver. He is busy making a batch of house bloody mix, (which is baller–try it), while I play one million questions with him.  I began by asking him what other restaurant in the country he could be compared to. He tells me The Squeaky Bean is “unlike any other restaurant.”

Alright, but that’s what every restaurant owner thinks about their restaurant. What’s so different about this place, I wonder?

While Johnny ran to the bar to get some ingredients for the bloody mix,  I took an opportunity to have a good look at my surroundings, some Sherlock Holmes detective work if you will.  I look at the huge bingo board on the wall, the encased micro-greens growing on garde mangier, the smoking martini glass at the bar, and the shrines of famous people past and think, “ya, this is pretty unique.”

When Johhny returns I ask him, “So, what’s with the bingo board on the wall?” He tells me, “It’s for Sunday’s Brunch Bingo. We have a local comedian come in and call the numbers. It’s pretty fun.”

The more time I spend in The Squeaky Bean and the more Johnny explains the restaurant, the more I begin to realize why this place is so popular. It’s fun, yes, but it is also polished and cozy.

We take our food, wine, cocktails, and service very seriously. We don’t take ourselves so serious
And that is perfect, because most people, on most days, wantexactly that; excellent service wrapped in friendly faces.

If you think I am wrong, take a gander on Opentable or Yelp and read some reviews for the finer dining restaurants around America. You’ll read a lot of, “they take themselves too seriously.”  Being around people that take them selves “too serious” is kind of boring.  Boring is bad.

The Squeaky Bean crew has a pretty solid stance on seriousness. When I am spending time with Brody, a veteran Squeaky Bean server,  he holds up his hand and counts on his fingers what they do take seriously. “We take our food, wine, cocktails, and service very seriously. We don’t take ourselves so serious.”  As soon as that sentences comes out of Brody’s mouth I whip out my notebook and scramble to write it down. As it turns out, I didn’t need to be so frantic about writing it down because  thirty minutes later Johnny tells me the exact same thing.



 The fact that two different people within the organization said the exact same thing had me pretty impressed. There are not many restaurants where you could get two people to agree on the concept of their restaurant.

Don’t believe me? Try it. Ask two, five, or ten people at your restaurant, “what is our restaurant’s service style concept? What’s ‘our thing’, ” and I bet you get two, five or ten different answers. (If you don’t, you work at a restaurant that has a strong sense of culture.)

When you have unity on what your restaurant is all about, you begin to create its culture and its brand. And if you don’t know what your brand is, or what you stand for, you’ve got some serious work cut out for yourself.

Every server that works at The Squeaky Bean is encouraged to be themselves and have fun with their guests.  But it’s not all fun and games. It’s more like you get to have fun and games as your reward for knowing your s***, because remember, they take their food, wine and spirits seriously, and that means the servers must have a great knowledge base.

There is an expectation of the staff to be fully educated, but no one has to go it alone.  


Click on the Vine’s above to pause the play back.

In fact, every Saturday they hold a staff wine tasting and lesson. Every server has a wine book, which is a portfolio of all the wines on their menu.

That goes for food too. The service team tries, and tries again, all the food. “The chefs are always looking for feedback,” Brody tells me.

The service team is versed how each dish is prepared, and also where all the ingredients are sourced from. Lucky for them they have an acre and a half where they grown their own vegetables, greens, weeds, and micros.

What about the winter months!?! Don’t worry, they also have a green house.  (Whew!)


The Squeaky Bean is a unique and happening restaurant. They believe in, and provide,  fresh from the farm, and straight to the table cuisine, and a service team you’ll want to come back to see.


The Squeaky Bean teaches us to have fun with our guests, and to be serious about our products.


Thank you Johnny Ballen for allowing me into your happy restaurant. Thank you Squeaky Bean team for dealing with me: Brody, Shannon, Michael, Minetta, Eddy, and everyone whose name I didn’t write down.

We are in this profession together. Let’s start applauding, sharing ideas and bringing more excellence to our game. Do you want to help me with this tour AND become a stronger server or manager? Thank God! Check out the iamWaitress product line HERE or make a donation on the left.

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