Dan Appell says he “grew up” in the Italian deli that his father bought in 1982 in Parsippany, New Jersey, doing just about every job there was to do from the age of six through his graduation from college. And he would have been just fine if he’d never left Bangiola’s Sandwich Shoppe and Catering.
But then beer happened – craft beer, specifically. After working as a bartender and then as a sales rep for Anheuser-Busch in New Jersey, Appell moved to Colorado and started working for Upslope Brewing in Boulder, then at Wynkoop Brewing selling beer.
But he missed Jersey – and he missed Jersey-style delis, specifically. So later this year, Appell will open the Grateful Gnome Sandwich Shoppe & Brewery – a combination craft brewery and deli – at 4369 Stuart Street, across from the Oriental Theater, in a spot he’d been eyeing for years.
“There are a bunch of good delis out here, but not a lot of East Coast-style delis,” he says. “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.” Appell plans to have fifty sandwiches on his menu, both hot and cold, some based on his grandmother’s recipes.
“Basically, I’m looking for a place where I can eat seven days a week,” he says with a laugh, adding that this may be the only combination Italian-style deli and brewery in existence in the world. “I’ve done extensive research, and I can’t find any others.”
If delis are Appell’s first love, though, beer is his second. As a sales rep for Wynkoop, he delivered beer to the Oriental and noticed the old Red Door antique shop – a spot with lots of parking near the busy intersection of West 44th Avenue and Tennyson Street. He finally landed the spot last month, signing a lease and ordering a ten-barrel brewing system and five fermenters.
Appell says he will hire a brewer to turn out up to thirteen different beers – “a nice session beer, a big, dank IPA and everything in between” — along with a housemade root beer. He’ll also serve a cider from C-Squared Ciders and guest beers from other craft breweries. The Grateful Gnome will have a limited selection of red and white wine and spirits, as well.
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As for the name, Appell explains that he is a Deadhead, which is where Grateful comes from, and also loves gnomes. The Shoppe honors his father’s place in New Jersey.
The Grateful Gnome, whose space totals 4,150 square feet, will have room for more than 100 people inside and on the patio. It will likely open at 9 a.m. most days, serving the whole menu, which includes breakfast sandwiches all day and all night — and beer, too, if licensing allows.
The Gnome is located just steps from De Steeg Brewing, which occupies a tiny space in the alley just east of Tennyson Street and south of 44th Avenue.
Appell says he hopes to open the doors sometime in late August or early September.