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Coming Next Summer: Craftsman 2.0

Since the day it opened in an Edwards shopping mall in 2017, Craftsman has bustled with business. The high-end sandwich shop—which by no means is just that—has since helped define Edwards as a destination for food and craft beer. Now, four years later, it’s time for Craftsman to spread its wings. At the beginning of November, owner Chris Schmidt signed a lease to take over the Gore Range Brewery space a half a mile away, where he will open a larger Craftsman. “This is a natural move for us,” Schmidt says. “We’re bursting at the seams.

Because of Craftsman’s success, Schmidt has considered growing the brand with additional locations, but “it’s too chef-driven to scale it and keep the quality,” he says. So when he moves the restaurant sometime early next summer, it will still be Craftsman as we know it, just larger (5,600 square feet instead of 2,300) with a few additional menu items, a wood-fired oven, and a full bar. “I don’t want to get away from what made us what we are,” he says. “We want to build on what we do.”

With craft beer central to the restaurant (the 16 tap handles are constantly rotating), punching up the suds program makes sense. Schmidt has partnered with Frisco’s Outer Range Brewery to run the brewing component. The union is an obvious one because Schmidt’s Thai-style chicken eatery Bird Craft sits inside Outer Range’s Frisco space, but Schmidt is clear that this isn’t a co-branded business. “We’re bringing in the right people to do the right job, but this won’t be two different entities. It’s just Craftsman,” says Schmidt. “We’ll have eight beers brewed on-site and eight rotating beers from other breweries.”

Not surprisingly, Schmidt also has plans for the space that Craftsman will vacate: pizza. “I’m working on a concept, something new,” he says. “It’s called In Bloom and it’ll be Cart-DriverFlour + WaterRedeemer Pizza-esque.” For those who say there’s already plenty of pizza in the Vail Valley, Schmidt assures them there’s nothing like this. “I go for what I’m passionate about. The pizzas will be made with organic flours, naturally leavened doughs, and high-end ingredients. It’s going to be bright, airy, and fun.”

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