Brooklyn Daily Eagle wrote:
Immigration brings best of Danish cuisine to Downtown BrooklynClaudi and Lone Kofod, owners of Bornholm, have one incredible story to tell about how
they came to open their unique new restaurant in Downtown Brooklyn.
The breakfast, lunch and dinner spot opened its doors in August and is named after the small, idyllic island from which the married couple come.
The Danish island of Bornholm is located in the Baltic Sea off the coast of Sweden. It’s a three-hour ride from Copenhagen to Bornholm by car and ferry, and a 30-minute trip by air. The island is known for its quaint and calm atmosphere and quality cuisine.
How Claudi and Lone came to America, and brought a little bit of their homeland with them, is quite the incredible tale. Claudi had worked as an audio engineer, editor, journalist and cameraman for the main television station in Denmark.
In 2006, Claudi arrived in the U.S. with his family — wife Lone, daughter Camilla and son Casper — to cover a story about two men from Bornholm who came to America and started a design business in Philadelphia. While covering the story, Claudi realized he too would like to live in this country.
Claudi explained that Bornholm is a small island with 39,000 people, and it only takes two-and-a-half hours to drive around the entire coast of the island. Furthermore, Bornholm is known for its four unique round churches.
Claudi, Lone and their children began exploring the U.S., traveling from coast to coast and liking what they saw. But it wasn’t yet the time to move. Claudi and Lone went back to Bornholm and opened a bed and breakfast, which they expanded from seven to 16 rooms.
After four-and-a-half years they sold the business and decided to make the move to America. They initially thought they would open a bed and breakfast, but ultimately decided to open The Danish Café in Red Bank, New Jersey in 2012.
After four successful years running the Danish Café, they decided to open Bornholm in Downtown Brooklyn. Claudi especially liked the small town feel of the Smith Street neighborhood they chose. He said, “It’s easy to get around here. On our island it’s very difficult when everything is so far away. This neighborhood is easy to get around, close to the big city and yet maintains an inviting coziness.”
After four successful years running The Danish Café, they decided to open Bornholm in Downtown Brooklyn. Claudi especially liked the small town feel of the Smith Street neighborhood they chose.
He said, “It’s easy to get around here. On our island it’s very difficult when everything is so far away. This neighborhood is easy to get around, close to the big city and yet maintains an inviting coziness.”
Everything in Bornholm is Danish, from the cups, plates and artwork to the lighting fixtures. And Claudi is especially proud of their backyard setting, one of the biggest open-air seatings in the area.
All the food in the restaurant is made in-house and from scratch, including all meats and pasta. All except for the Danish pastries, which are actually all imported from Denmark.
A few of Bornholm’s signature selections are its famous open-face sandwiches, prepared just as they are in the Nordic countries. For dinner, Claudi mentions the plank steak, cooked in the oven on a Danish plank. Diners can select from a variety of meats, including beef, pork or salmon.
Lone humorously relates constant encounters with guests who mistake Bornholm for a Dutch restaurant, asking, “Oh, do you speak Dutch?”
Some are perplexed when she tries to explain the difference Holland and Denmark.
And speaking of Denmark, Claudi laughs and relates how they have become unofficial travel agents for people who are so impressed with Bornholm that they inquire about visiting Denmark. They gladly offer the customers tips about where to go and what to see.
As far as service, the presentation is quite important. Lone explains that everything must look perfect because the first thing customers do is “eat with their eyes.”
And they also carry on the Nordic tradition of never clearing a plate before everyone at the table is finished. They want everyone to relax and enjoy their entire meal.
Claudi and Lone have undoubtedly succeeded in their goal of bringing the quality, feel and flavor of Denmark here by doing things “100 percent the Danish way.”
By John Alexander
Brooklyn Daily Eagle