Dan Appell and Bess Dougherty could use some simple pleasures. After all, they've worked for two long years, through stress and setbacks and a scaffolding accident, to create the Grateful Gnome Sandwich Shoppe & Brewery. But the Gnome finally opens today, and it offers simple pleasures by the pound and the pint.
Located in a spacious former antiques shop at 4369 Stuart Street in the Berkeley neighborhood, the Gnome is modeled after the deli that Appell's father ran for years in Parsippany, New Jersey. It offers a deep board of some fifty different sandwiches, from Taylor ham and egg to salami, pepperoni, capicola and provolone, along with hot items like hamburgers, chicken parmesan sandwiches, cheesesteaks and Reubens. All are packed with ingredients, and the meat is sliced right at the counter as you order.
“There are a bunch of good delis out here, but not a lot of East Coast-style delis,” Appell told Westword in a previous interview. “It’s where you walk in and first you talk to the slicer guy to do your meats, and then you talk to the dressing guy and tell him what you want on your sandwich. Basically, I’m looking for a place where I can eat seven days a week. I’ve done extensive research, and I can’t find any others.”
The brewery isn't set up yet, but it should be up and running in a few weeks. In the meantime, the Gnome is serving one beer, Giggity IPA, which was brewed at Woods Boss Brewing, and thirteen other beers from other Colorado beer and cider makers. Eventually, those fourteen taps will pour a variety of Gnome beers.
Boasting exposed brick and a couple of garage doors, the deli/brewery has a cozy, casual feel that will be enhanced by a number of TVs, courtesy of the local alumni club for the University of West Virginia, where Appell went to college. There are also a few gnomes scattered about.
Dougherty, the head brewer, joined Appell at the Gnome after meeting him at the Wynkoop Brewing Company, where they both worked a few years ago — Dougherty in the brewhouse and Appell on the sales side.
More than a year into their preparations to open, though, Appell and Dougherty suffered a huge setback when
construction scaffolding on the apartment building next door collapsed, sending a huge plank through the roof and onto the bar where Dougherty was sitting. In addition to the psychological effects of that scare, the accident also resulted in months of insurance paperwork and problems. Construction was finally able to get under way again at the end of 2017.
Today (Wednesday, April 11), Appell posted the following message on Facebook:
Greetings Gnome faithful,
It is our absolute pleasure to announce to y'all that today, Wednesday April 11th, 2018 at 9am, WE ARE OPEN TO THE MASSES!!! We have waited patiently for a long, long, long, long, long time and CANNOT WAIT to see your smiling faces bellied-up with a NJ-style sub and a pint of Colorado-born craft beer... which is a match made in heaven if you ask this guy.
Our only current contribution to the 14-tap opening line-up is our 7% Giggity IPA. Giggity is surrounded by 13 unique and delicious local guest taps until we get our tanks full. (It goes without saying, but the biggest hugs and smooches to our super-amazing friends across town at Woods Boss Brewing who broke their brew schedule and allowed Bess the opportunity to crank out a 15 BBL batch of her IPA)
If you find yourself in the NW Denver area tomorrow, we'd love to invite you into our humble abode to check the joint out and see what we've got cookin' for the Berkeley Highlands. We're opening with an abbreviated menu in hopes of getting all of our moving parts slowly in sync. We will bring the entire 50-sandwich menu to you over the course of the next few weeks or so. Bess is gonna get six of her beers in the fermenters in six days starting wihin the week.
On a personal note... I assure you with every last tear puddled up on my keyboard, every hair standing on my neck, every chill running through my body, and every goosebump covering my skin, this is truly a dream come true and I hope y'all dig it! We are very much looking forward to the unpaved road ahead and I can't thank you enough for your patience with us.
Cheers, all my love, and see you in a few hours!!!!
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.