Interview with Tyler and Jenny Sherman
Owners of Odyssey Gastropub
311 N. Tejon Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80903
This hip joint in downtown Colorado Springs opened its doors in November 2014 and is always hopping with a diverse group of grub-loving locals. We’ve been honored to work with them since our relaunch and fall in love with their food every weekend with our tour guests. Make sure to stop in for their beloved chicken and waffles for either brunch or dinner – because who doesn’t like breakfast for dinner?! The waffle batter is made with charred corn and bacon and is served with fresh berries and a side of smoked maple syrup. Delicious!
We sat down with owners Tyler and Jenny to find out more about their menu and how they run their business. Read our interview below!
What are your favorite menu items?
Tyler: That’s like asking me to pick my favorite child! I love everything we have on the menu, and when I’m eating, it’s more about deciding how many things I can have in one sitting before I can walk out of here. Our Green Chili is killer so you can never go wrong with anything that has it (Green Chili Cheese Fries, Odyssey Burger, etc.). I’m also a huge fan of our Wings, Brussels Sprouts, Banh Mi, Reuben, BLTA, Kale/Beet Salad, Burger (best Happy Hour cheese burger deal in town!), Chicken and Waffles, and Fish and Chips. All of it, really.
Are there any fun facts or secrets about the menu and/or how it was created?
Tyler: Our plan with the menu was to have dishes from different parts of the world that would be familiar to people, but we have our own unique spin on them. For example, we have Fish and Chips on the menu, but we use Mahi Mahi instead of Cod, and we batter it in a Chinese 5 Spice Beer Batter and serve it with a Sweet Chili Tartar Sauce and Asian Slaw. It’s familiar, but a little different.
How did you get started in the restaurant industry?
Tyler: I was a grill cook at McDonald’s when I was 16. No joke. Of course, that isn’t what drove me to a career in the restaurant biz, but it is where I started. Getting from flipping burgers to owning a restaurant is a bit of an “odyssey,” if you will. I came from working in restaurants and hotels through my 20s and 30s and finally realized that I was ready to take the next step and risk everything to open our own place.
Jenny: My restaurant journey began at a small pizza joint in my hometown. From there I began waiting tables at a small fine dining restaurant to get myself through college. I quickly realized that my passion was in the restaurant industry, which led me to management then eventually ownership.
Tell us about some of your core values as a business owner?
Tyler: Basically, I wanted to be the kind of owner that I’d like to work for. If you respect your staff, customers, community and businesses, they’ll all respect you in return and everyone will be happier.
Jenny: Growing up in the business, we both understand how difficult each job is and do our best to remember when we were in that position. We would not be where we are without a happy staff – every guest experience starts with them!
If you were stranded on a desert island and could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what food would that be?
Tyler: HAHA! Even though we don’t have it on the menu at Odyssey…nachos. Mexican food is probably my favorite cuisine in general, but nachos can be so fun and versatile. Of course, I’d need a lot of ingredients to keep my nachos interesting, so that might disqualify them from this type of question.
Jenny: This is the easiest question. CHEESE!
How would you describe the culture/vibe of OG?
Tyler: We have always called it casual/upscale. We wanted to create a place that we would look forward to going to (we do). Great food. Great drinks. A casual atmosphere that works for meeting for a drink after work, watching a game, guys night, girl’s night, date night, etc. We want everyone to feel welcome and not pressured to fit into any box when you come here, but we also didn’t want it to be like a dive bar.
Can you explain the concept of a gastropub and how that differs from other bars or pubs?
Tyler: The term originated in the UK in the early 90’s to distinguish drinking establishments (pubs) from drinking establishments that served food (gastro-pub). “Gastro” is a term that references the stomach or gastrointestinal system. It’s evolved since then to be more widely recognized as an establishment that serves high quality, interesting food in a pub-style atmosphere.
We love the idea that you have several owners. Can you tell us about that structure and why it works for you?
Tyler: Well, it wasn’t our unique idea. We had some guidance with this structure, but what drew us to it is that it gets members of the community involved in small business. Our investment shares were small enough that a regular person could invest and not go broke if the wheels fell off. Our founders were also some of our best customers and marketing ambassadors when we opened, and you wouldn’t get that kind of support from a bank or investment firm. We’re just regular, local people, and we’d prefer to work with other regular, local people. That’s really what this structure is about.
What’s on the horizon for you guys?
Tyler: A key for us is to continue to be focused on making Odyssey the best that it can be and pushing the envelope here as much as we can. That being said, we will take possession of a new downtown property that we’ll be renovating into a sister restaurant on September 1, 2017. We’re hoping to have the new place open before the end of the year and couldn’t be more excited! It’ll be a totally different concept, but there’ll be some similarities because, we want to build a place that we want to go…again.
Thanks, Tyler and Jenny! If you’d like to check out Odyssey Gastropub, take our Springs Signature Cocktail Tour on Fridays!
Cheers, Your Rocky Mountain Food Tours Team