Chef Lon Symensma's professional journey began at an early age. In 1996, after winning a silver medal in The Culinary Olympics, Lon enrolled at The Culinary Institute of America. After graduating with honors, he spent a year apprenticing in France, Italy and Spain at two Michelin two-star restaurants and San Sebastian's famed Arzak. In 2001, Lon joined esteemed Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten in New York City at his acclaimed flagship restaurant, Jean-Georges where he spent 2 years developing his passion for Asian ingredients.
Lon went on to travel extensively throughout China and South East Asia, where he participated in the opening of Jean-Georges Shanghai. Upon return to New York City, he became the opening sous chef at Jean-Georges' iconic South East Asian restaurant, Spice Market. Lon then spent five years as executive chef of New York City's swank Buddakan. Under his leadership, Buddakan earned a coveted New York Times two star review, and was recognized as the fifth highest grossing restaurant in the United States.
In 2010, Lon relocated to Denver to open ChoLon. ChoLon, which translates to "big market”, is named after the largest Chinese-influenced market in Saigon, Vietnam. Chef Lon brings to life his extensive culinary travels throughout Asia in his Denver restaurant. ChoLon's menu hallmarks inspired interpretations of traditional dishes found across the exotic Far East. From dim sum or "small bites" to large, family style plates, authentic flavors capture a unique twist for modern palates. The lounge boasts an extensive list of elegant wines, craft beers and handcrafted, artisanal cocktails created to enhance Chef Lon's creations. In addition to lunch and dinner service, ChoLon offers a small bites and happy hour menu which may be enjoyed in the lounge and patio.
In 2011, ChoLon was a James Beard Finalist for Best New Restaurant in America. Additional accolades also include being named one of the Top 10 Best New Asian Restaurants in America by Details Magazine and has quickly risen to 2nd place in Colorado's 5280 Magazine's Top 25 Restaurants list. Lon has personally been recognized with a nomination for Best New Chef in the Southwest by Food and Wine Magazine and has been voted Denver's Best Chef and Best All-Star Duo by Denver's Westword publication.
Meet The Team
Team ChoLon is composed of a stellar group of individuals, bringing together a range of experience and skill in the kitchen and dining room.
Executive Chef: Lon Symensma
Chief Operating Officer: Christopher Massey
Chef de Cuisine: Jeff Stoneking
Executive Sous Chef: Becca Henry
Sous Chef: Donald Beaney
General Manager: Dani Craig
Manager: Dylon Rau
Bar Manager: Mat Howerton
Events Coordinator: Chelsea Mack
For all group dining and catering requests, contact Chelsea Mack: Chelsea@cholondenver.com.