For chef Brandon Spain and his partner Kaitlyn Peot, Knockabout Burgers is a tribute to two of their favorite things: Colorado producers and comforting flavors. At the new Avanti Food & Beverage stall, you can taste their love for both in a lineup of stacked burgers, seasoned fries, and blended ice cream treats. Knockabout took over the space previously occupied by Street Feud (which has moved out to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant on Broadway), returning burgers to the food hall’s lineup since American Grind’s departure over a year ago.
When Spain, the owner of Fort Collins-based the Tramp About food truck, and Peot, a 10-year veteran of New Belgium Brewing, were brainstorming the menu for Knockabout Burgers, they knew local beef had to be the centerpiece. “We want to highlight that because it’s something that Colorado can and should be proud of,” says Peot.
The couple sources grass-fed, grass-finished meat from Lasater Grasslands Beef, a ranch located near Matheson on Colorado’s eastern plains. Spain forms the burger patties by hand, and pairs them with toppings inspired by the dishes his Chinese mother cooked during his childhood and the Tex-Mex fare he ate living in Austin, Texas, for eight years. Knockabout is committed to using as many ingredients as it can from local businesses, including River Bear American Meats, Cottonwood Creek Farms, Haystack Mountain Goat Cheese, and Rocky Mountain Olive Oil.
Knockabout’s thoughtful sourcing results in inventive combinations like a kimchi burger, a messy (in a good way) two-hander layered with a sunny side up egg, bok choy slaw kissed with homemade kimchi dressing, hoisin-infused ketchup, and sesame-Sriracha mayo. It’s best with chipotle aïoli-spiked queso and a mountain of wonderfully crisp lime-salted fries, a nod to Spain and Peot’s obsession with Tostitos Hint of Lime tortilla chips. For dessert, the Knockabout Blenders are brain freeze-worthy riffs on Dairy Queen’s Blizzards, featuring decadent mix-ins like chocolate chip cookie dough and salted caramel and toffee.
Though the pandemic forced Spain and Peot to pare down Knockabout’s menu, they couldn’t pass up the opportunity to open in Avanti, despite the possibility of having to close if Gov. Polis reimposes restrictions on dine-in service. “It’s definitely risky, 100 percent. But Avanti is making it feasible to take more risks,” says Peot, referring to the food hall’s status as an affordable launching pad for restaurants.
As for the food stall’s name, Spain and Peot define the word “knockabout” as a “joyful, boisterous outing”—and they hope the dishes at the stall conjures up happy memories for those who enjoy them. Let the good times roll.
3200 N. Pecos St.