Winter Park: New grill crosses culinary boundaries
November 21, 2008
If their gumbo doesn’t get you, then the Borbergs are sure to serve up something that will.
The gumbo recipe is something Back Country Grill owners Bob and Nancy Borberg have kept on the back burner for some time. When they sold Randi’s Irish Saloon and restaurant, which they ran for a decade with a partner, the recipe went with it. So they never put their gumbo on a menu, until now.
They sold Randi’s last February and took an RV trip “all over.” Through the miles with daughter Maureen (5) the couple thought about their next step.
For six months, they researched options for living, working, and for school for “Mo.” After traveling most of the country, Bob and Nancy looked at each other and said, “Let’s go home.”
They knew they wanted to get back into the restaurant business and envisioned a place that was nice and comfortable, “like you were coming to our house for dinner,” Bob said. Serving only in the evenings, their new modest space allows Bob to “spend more time being dad.”
Randi’s won several awards and was featured in Gourmet Magazine, but they “never cared about that,” Bob said. “We just want to put out some good food and people to leave happy.” The Borbergs began renovating their new restaurant in September, with name and sign design reflecting a passion for their mountain home.
The “Louisiana Backwoods” gumbo is a concoction created by a friend who perfected it in the Southern state. Served over rice and thick enough to eat with a fork, the chicken and sausage dish is a medley of flavors. The sausage isn’t homemade, “not yet” anyway, but “fresh” and “homemade” are no strangers to the Back Country Grill vocabulary.
As an avid hunter and fisherman, many of Bob’s dishes highlight top-notch seafood and game. Menu items include the Prince Edward Island mussels and the Blackened scallop skewers.
“The food is not casual but the menu is,” Bob said.
Main entrees include buffalo, elk, New Zealand red deer, duck, trout, salmon, Alfredo with shrimp, scallops and crab; as well as several hand-cut steaks (including Kobe beef). There’s also a handful of sandwiches and salads and the dessert list includes homemade pie, hot waffle fudge sundae, and donuts served with a dipping trio.
Beverages include an extensive wine list, as well as several beers (happy hour is 4:30 to 6 p.m.). In the future, the Borbergs hope to have some of those that are locally brewed and bottled.
The two restaurateurs celebrated their new venture with informal welcome parties last week and officially opened Wednesday, along with the ski area. While Nancy and Bob greeted friends, “Mo” stuffed her first $2 tip into a small glass with equal excitement.
The parties were a complete success, not only with the food but the pricing. The Back Country Grill menu offers high-quality food, Bob points out, without the prices that are usually associated with it.
“We’re not trying to do anything fancy. It’s priced for people making a life for themselves here,” he said. Hand in hand with the level of comfort, he continued “is providing a service that speaks as a thank you for 10 years of local support at our previous business.”
A grand opening is set for tonight, with half-price wine and beer, and music by guitar player Gary Key.