Fated for Flavor
BY SARA BRUSKIN | PHOTOS BY PHIL MUMFORD
Lafayette’s destiny is looking a lot tastier as FATE owner Mike Lawinski gears up to open a second restaurant in the Lafayette District. The original Boulder location arrived on the scene in 2013, and has quickly become a favorite among locals for its eclectic comfort food, award-winning beer selection, and modern yet laid-back ambience.
Chief operating officer Alyssa Lundgren says the new restaurant will have similar mixed-medium décor with metal and wood for a warm industrial feel, but with its own unique spin. “We’re trying to design it as a sibling and not a twin to the original FATE. We want them to feel and look cohesive but also have their own flavor,” she says. “The brewpub in Boulder is reflective of the community of people in Boulder. We want our Lafayette ale house to be reflective of the people in Lafayette.”
One of the main tenets behind these restaurants is inclusivity: FATE’s creative team likes designing environments in which everybody will feel welcome. Most restaurateurs define their target audience, and then shape the restaurant and food around that concrete idea of the clientele. Lundgren says the departure from that philosophy is part of why she loves FATE. “When I joined the team, I was impressed because Mike did not take that approach. His approach was, ‘We want to serve someone who just got off their inner tube from the creek as well as someone who’s in a business meeting.’ So we strive to design the environment to meet people where they’re at.”
Because they don’t pigeonhole their guests or their concept, head chef Arik Markus is free to design dishes that span different styles of cuisine. The char siu pork-belly ramen ($19) is the perfect warming entrée for a crisp fall evening with tender pork belly fresh from the smoker, while the Peak Performer Bowl ($14) with sautéed kale, roasted beets and carrots, crispy capers, quinoa-cauliflower tabbouli and preserved- lemon vinaigrette is the savory queen of vegetarian cuisine.
FATE’s Lafayette ale house will also get a Yoder smoker like the beloved original in Boulder, so the cooks can fresh smoke their meat every morning. Barbecue is undeniably a culinary art form, and Markus turns it into even more than that. He aims to create dishes that embody the restaurant’s comforting atmosphere, like the pub plate of burnt-end deviled eggs ($7), one of his favorites. A dish of genius simplicity, the deviled eggs are coated with smoked paprika and topped with succulent barbecue brisket that melds perfectly with the creamy, smoky yolks. Finished with zesty arugula, the dish comes together with a bold balance of flavor that really sings when paired with the Norns Roggenbier—a beer based on a medieval recipe with a bright, spicy fruity flavor and smoky tartness on the finish.
Markus puts his all into the food he creates, and cares deeply about his ingredients and where they come from. “At a baseline, any of the meats that come in here are hormone and antibiotic free,” he says. “Beyond that, it’s really about trying to source locally. We work closely with Clint Buckner of Boulder Lamb, and I have a seven-and-a-half-year-old son who’s come out to that ranch with me and bottle-fed a baby lamb in the spring.” With such a strong emphasis on forming connections and strengthening the community, FATE’s team is applying the same standards and motivations to their second location in Lafayette.
Rather than trying to beat out the competition in their new neighborhood, FATE is already making friends with the other kids in the sandbox. Head brewer Jeff Griffith has been collaborating with three Lafayette breweries—Odd13, The Post and Liquid Mechanics Brewing Company—to create beers that will be shared among the different breweries.
Griffith is always brainstorming new flavor combinations to try, and has even collaborated with Kyle Hollingsworth of the String Cheese Incident to create FATE’s Apollo Tsai, a delicately sweet yet hoppy honey-wheat ale with notes of Earl Grey tea.
Lundgren is on deck to pick the next beer flavor for Griffith to create, an honor she earned by winning the restaurant’s Halloween costume contest last year. The staff exudes imagination and fun in the way they work together, so Griffith gets plenty of inspiration for his creative beers. He says he’s even approached some regular customers to ask what they would love to see on the beer menu, so keep a couple of flavor ideas in mind if you become a devoted FATE patron.
But if you’re going to be the person who suggests a Limburger-and-anchovy ale, please don’t tell them we sent you.
FATE Brewing Company (303-449-FATE, www.fatebrewingcompany.com) is located at
1600 38th St., Boulder 80301. It is open Monday through Friday 11 a.m.-10 p.m. and
Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
FATE Ale House is opening in early fall. Location will be 400 W. South Boulder Road,
Lafayette 80026. Check website for hours.