Old is new again as Danish Athletic Club re-launches eatery

September 17, 2014 Jaime DeJesus
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Rejuvenation is the word to describe the new Danish Athletic Club (DAC). On September 3, the venerable institution re-launched its restaurant, in hopes of expanding and improving the long-standing Brooklyn fixture.

Recently, the club, at 735-42 65th Street, was rumored to be closing due to financial trouble and only served a limited menu of food three days a week. Now with a robust menu and plans to renovate the space in short order, all is about to change for the former soccer club, according to Anne Mette Wismann, the club’s president.

“Today is a reawakening and discovery of the importance of the club to Bay Ridge,” she said. “So many people have had a lot of memories of gatherings and celebrations here.”

The day marked a new beginning for the club, in existence for 122 years. The expanded menu included Roast Pork Loin with Sauerkraut, Kompe Frikadeller (meat dumplings) and more, though the menu promises that there are also entrees available for the “less adventurous,” such as skirt steak and grilled chicken.

Much of these promising choices for foodies are thanks to the club’s new chef, James Hotaling, whose resume includes working as a chef at a Sheraton Hotel as well as other eateries. “We now have professional chef that wanted to come in and help the club to train the other cooks,” said Dave Thorsen, the restaurant business chair of DAC.

“We are grateful to have this famous cook,” added Wismann. “He is fantastic in his cooking and training.”

The menu isn’t the only upgrade at the club. Changes in operating hours are currently underway in an attempt to reinforce its role in the community. “This is the soft reopening. The club is looking to go full time by October and be open five days a week again, Wednesday through Sunday, and offer brunch and dinner,” said Thorsen.

Renovation is also on the agenda. “We are still a work in progress,” Thorsen said. “We want to expand and re-embrace our roots and get back to where we were. The goal is support the club and the club’s goal is support the members and the community,” he added.

The plan is to put up various items that were displayed in the club in the 1940s as well as the addition of more photographs. Within the next two months, the club is also expected to add a coffee room, and reopen skylights and more areas that were originally a part of the building.

“We are all very excited. Today is a successful day,” said Wismann.

“Today, we’re the last full-sized Scandinavian restaurant in Bay Ridge. It holds a special place in the heart of lots of Scandinavians. It brings them back to simpler times. It’s a piece of the past,” said Hotaling.

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