CASPER, Wyo. – A culinary trifecta taking form in the old Petroleum Club building.
First there was beer, which is a given considering it’s the Gruner Brothers Brewing that converted the former club and restaurant into a 8,000 barrel-per-year brewery and tap room.
Then came the burgers, supplied after local craft burger maker Tyler Wood moved his respected Mouthful operation into the spacious kitchen at the brewery.
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Now comes pretzels, courtesy of Lisa Dodds and her Wind City Sweets & Treats business.
Dodds is also moving into the kitchen alongside Mouthful, a big step up from her home kitchen where since 2016 she’s established her reputation for cakes, cookies and treats.
“It’s been interesting,” Dodds says of the transition. “It’s a whole different scale in a commercial kitchen compared to my tiny little kitchen at home.”
In the three weeks since relocating to the new space, Dodds and her two employees have been working and tweaking their signature pretzels, a feature brewery owner Ben Gruner wanted to add to the taproom experience.
The first two varieties are a sweet and a seasoned, with bourbon beer maple syrup and an icing as dipping options for the sweet, and a beer cheese for the savory.
Dodds will produce more varieties in the future, as well as add cookies and beer-inspired brownies for sale in the Gruner taproom.
The pretzels, dips and most future treats featured at Gruner will be infused with one of their beer varieties.
Dodds says she has known brewery co-owner Ben Gruner since childhood, but the business partnership was a well-time coincidence.
“I posted on Facebook looking for a commercial space,” said Dodds, who was taking on more wholesale business, “and Ben reached out to me about this big kitchen.”
Dodds doesn’t intend to let the new higher profile work distract from her core business, where orders for treats or catering services can be placed at her website.
In addition, she’s also been tapped to supply baked goods for Scarlow’s Art and Coffee downtown, and the new Wild Pony Coffee Company at the Hat Six Travel Plaza.
“I’ve always loved being in the kitchen, I loved cooking for my family and friends,” said Dodds.
“If you told me four years ago that I’d be at this level I’d say ‘no way.'”
Dodds grew up in a Greek family in Casper and credits her childhood experience for inspiration.
Dodds says Greek and Mediterranean cooking relies on citrus and “bright” flavors, which she brings into many of her baked goods.
For the baked pretzels, Dodds used influences from Bavarian and American styles while still aiming for uniqueness.
Dodds says she’ll eventually supply fresh buns for Mouthful’s burgers and for bratwursts Gruner has planned.
Dodds says they’ll make two dozen of each pretzel flavor fresh daily, along with pretzel bites for kids or a lighter option.
Dodds’ enthusiasm hasn’t diminished with the added responsibilities of her rapid growth.
“I love it, I absolutely love it,” said Dodds.
Gruner Brothers Brewery hours are Tuesday-Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.