- Bonny Singleton / Pollinate Marketing
The name-granting dish is a Danish open-faced sandwich made on rugbrød, a dense rye bread studded with seeds, here baked fresh by Lincoln Center neighbors Nightingale Bread. It’s traditionally smeared with butter and finished with a range of savory toppings. Nordic culinary aficionados will be sad to learn he won’t be offering more aggressive customary offerings like lutefisk, a dish of dried whitefish partially prepared by soaking it in lye. Rather, Gust and Co. will focus on toppings more accessible to the American palate, so smoked salmon, lox, shrimp, roast beef and sausage are absolutely on the menu.
“We’re gonna be the next trail breakers of Scandinavian [cuisine] for Colorado Springs,” says Gust, who also owns Old Colorado City spots TAPAteria and Pizzeria Rustica. But the concept for Smørbrød came from Gust’s former business partner, Dave Brackett. They’d been looking at places around town for a while when the never-was Tailgate BBQ spot became available at Lincoln. But Brackett isn’t a business partner here, as he’s largely retired from the restaurant business. Gust says it seemed neater for him to be sole owner of Smørbrød and avoid the ensuing paperwork altogether.
Location Details Smørbrød
“Once I started doing a little bit of my own research about smørbrød and Scandinavian culture and cuisine and all the color... [I learned] it’s cool food,” he says.
Gust will run the kitchen while training up chef Wyatt Johnson to take charge. He’s worked for Gust on and off over the last six years, splitting time between TAPAteria and Pizzeria Rustica with winter cooking jobs in mountain resort towns — a lifestyle any winter sports aficionado could appreciate. Gust’s former Ritz Grill co-worker Mara Pinell will handle front-of-house.
“She’s got a ton of bartending experience and management experience, so it’s best case scenario for a new concept,” he says.
While Smørbrød will not be delivering food to Goat Patch Brewing Company customers through a window in their shared wall, Gust says that the spot will ensure Goat Patch “has a strong food presence.” He’ll also pour Goat Patch beers, along with a variety of wines. Further, he’s stocked the bar with primarily Nordic spirits, including several akvavits, a potato or grain spirit flavored primarily with caraway or dill. Pinell will also be in charge of building the spot’s cocktail program.
“It’s turned out really good, to the point where we have a pretty full bar just off of almost all Scandinavian [spirits],” he says, estimating those will make up around 60 percent of the bar — and that’s counting his house-infused akvavit. He’ll also offer a few local and high-end spirits for tequila, whiskey and rum drinkers.
“They don’t make much rum and that kind of stuff [in Scandinavia.]”