Spain launched his food truck, The Tramp About, in Fort Collins after working as a mobile vendor for a big-name restaurant group. "I worked for Big Red F at Jax [Fish House]," the chef explains. "I operated a food cart for Jax."
But even before he became a professional chef, Spain had developed a love of burgers with unusual flavors, since his mom is Chinese. "I grew up playing baseball and grilling burgers with my dad, but my mom also made great curry burgers," he recalls. And eight years living in Austin, Texas, further expanded his palate as a kid.
The menu at Knockabout will reflect the chef's experiences, so there will be a kimchi burger with a fried egg, as well as a chorizo burger with Texas-style queso. "I'm most excited about the fries, because they're a little different, too," Peot adds, noting that Knockabout will serve standard garlic-parmesan fries, plus curry-seasoned sweet-potato fries and lime-salted fries with queso and cotija.
To that end, Knockabout's burgers use meat from Lasater Grasslands Beef in eastern Colorado. Spain says each burger is made with a hand-formed, one-third-pound patty. Homemade aioli and other scratch-made ingredients are also part of the plan, and Spain says he's experimenting with a soft-serve ice cream machine to come up with some good desserts.
Knockabout Burgers takes the second-floor space previously occupied by Street Feud, which is in the process of opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant at First Avenue and Broadway. Like many other Avanti concepts, Spain and Peot are using their time at the food hall to introduce their food to a Denver audience, with an eye to bigger things in the future. They have a two-year lease at Avanti, so they don't have immediate plans for a full-scale restaurant, but they agree that they'd like to open a Knockabout Burgers with a drive-thru component at some point. "It would bridge the gap between fast food and high-end-restaurant burgers," Spain says.
The two are hoping to have a soft opening the last weekend of June and then open to the public after July 4. Once open, Knockabout will serve lunch and dinner at Avanti, 3200 Pecos Street, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.