When the new Smiling Moose concept opened on Monday, January 29 at 2110 S. University Blvd. in Denver, fans of the award-winning sandwich concept noticed things are a little different. For one, the new restaurant across from the University of Denver, is quite a bit larger: 3,500 square feet, not including the outdoor patio, which will be built this coming spring hold 20 additional seats (an average Moose is 1,800 square feet). The new restaurant also features elements not yet seen in any other Smiling Moose locations including a brunch program, table service, and a full bar serving local drafts and unique handcrafted cocktails like Bourbon Milk Punch, Blackberry Coin, and Stave-Smoked Old Fashioned.
The Smiling Moose research and development team curated an expanded menu for this concept that takes an elevated approach to traditional Moose dishes and introduces new, innovative offerings using only the freshest ingredients. They also fashioned a brand-new brunch program for this concept with a unique spin on classics. These creations include craveable items such as a decadent Funnel Cake French Toast, an Italian Benedict complete with a balsamic demi glaze, fluffy pancakes cooked-to-order in a cast iron skillet, and savory sweet potato fries with a maple marshmallow fluff dipping sauce. Brunch is available Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and features bottomless Mimosas and Bloody Marys.
The interior of this new concept is bright and comfortable with a unique blend of both rustic and industrial elements. It builds upon Smiling Moose’s Rustic Modern design prototype with the addition of warm blues and gray tones, marble countertops, a colorful mural, marble high-top community tables, and a grab-and-go retail area showcasing fresh chopped salads, wraps, and fresh-baked desserts. Charging stations with USB ports can be found throughout the restaurant and also contains a 120-inch TV wall and various other TVs to watch the game on. This new Moose will also function as a test kitchen for the other 15 Smiling Moose locations and will frequently feature new, innovative items crafted by the R&D team. Even with all of that, perhaps one of the biggest changes is the switch from fast casual to a full-service experience.
“One of the keys to our continuous growth and success at Smiling Moose is our focus on evolving and being on the front end of trends, whether that’s with our menu options, our décor, or our service philosophies,” says Rich Eisenberg, president of Smiling Moose. “The greater Denver area has been great for us since we opened here in 2007, and we chose the University of Denver area to test some exciting new programs we’ve been working on because we want to meet the changing needs of the dynamic, diverse and growing community. The Smiling Moose on University is a gorgeous new restaurant, and we can’t wait to introduce this new concept to our friends and neighbors here.”
Eisenberg says Smiling Moose has aggressive growth plans for both the original Rocky Mountain Deli concept as well as the new Sandwich Grill & Bar and are actively seeking experienced multiunit franchisees with interest in either concept.