Bradford’s Grub & Grog brings American-style cuisine to downtown Berthoud
By Shelley Widhalm
When business owner Jim Dawe acquired the old Odd Fellows building in downtown Berthoud he tried to talk his older brother Rob into starting a restaurant there.
The result of Jim’s convincing opened July 3 at 335 Mountain Ave. as Bradford’s Grub & Grog, a restaurant and bar Rob owns with three partners.
“Jim is the catalyst behind all of this,” said Rob, who lives in Denver and co-owns four restaurants there and felt Berthoud was too far to drive for another restaurant. “He tried to talk me into doing a restaurant, and I tried to talk him out of it.”
Rob decided to join Jim in his vision when the lease ended on his co-owned Aurora restaurant, McCabe’s Bistro & Pub, and he had extra restaurant equipment and furnishings. He also had visited Berthoud a few times and found he loved the town.
“I love the country town feel of Berthoud and that most of our customers can walk to the restaurant,” Rob said.
Jim had acquired the Odd Fellows building 18 months ago and converted the top floor into a separate business, Hale & Bradford Stillhouse, to serve Hale & Bradford distilled bourbon, vodka, rum and gin. Cocktails made with the spirits also are served downstairs, as well as local beers and wine.
The tasting room opened in October 2018, and the plan was to launch the restaurant that same year, but the building needed more work than the Dawes expected.
“We ended up having to strip everything, and that was part of the delay,” Rob explained.
The building was built in 1901, and because of its age the flooring and the electrical and plumbing systems had to be replaced. Walls had to be moved, so the only area left standing was the kitchen’s hood system and floor. The restrooms were moved to the back to open up the main restaurant area, and a bar was installed that, with dining seating, brought in 60 seats.
“We restored it back to its original self,” Jim said. “It’s taken awhile, but we stripped back to the bare wood floor and bare brick walls. It’s taken a little longer than we expected because we wanted to do a full restoration of the building.”
While restoration work was underway white and red bricks were discovered and retained to create an atmosphere of exposed brick walls. The salad bar is framed in beetle-kill wood, and wood and metal also add to that atmosphere.
“We pulled everything off,” Rob said. “The stuff that looked good we kept.”
Rob decided on an all-scratch menu and American home-style cooking. He doesn’t freeze anything and uses fresh ingredients, locally sourcing everything he can.
A few of his menu selections include red-brick chicken, fried chicken, steaks and burgers, and pit-smoked barbecue Friday to Sunday, such as brisket, ribs and sausage. There also are appetizers, salads, sandwiches, entrees and large plates, daily fish and soup specials, and a salad bar customers can eat as a meal or get to-go. The menu items come from recipes owned by one of Rob’s partners, Tim Bryan — his other partners are Colm and Christine O’Neil.
“I like how we’re doing most everything from scratch,” said Steven Kean, general manager and chef for Bradford’s and previously executive chef for one of Rob’s restaurants, Casey’s Bistro & Pub, for four years. “We’ve had really good customer reaction so far. People really like the comfort food aspect of it, the big portions of it.”
Rob also is pleased with the customer response.
“So far it’s been a terrific response,” Rob said, adding with Hale & Bradford upstairs some customers stop in for a cocktail when there is a wait. “We couldn’t be happier. We’re very humbled by the reception the town has given us. They seem very excited.”
Bradford’s Grub & Grog is open 4-9 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday and as staff is hired will add lunch and then brunch on the weekends.
To learn more about the restaurant, visit bradfordsberthoud.com or call 970-344-5492.
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