The Ginger Pig Will Soon Return to Its Boulder Roots

Chef Natascha Sherman Hess is currently prepping to serve up her fragrant Asian-inspired street food at yet another brick-and-mortar this fall
The Ginger Pig Will Soon Return to Its Boulder Roots
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The Ginger Pig will open at the former La Choza restaurant on The Hill at 1203 13th St. Boulder, CO 80302 this October, according to founder Natascha Sherman Hess.

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The story behind The Ginger Pig is neither brief, complete, nor void of poignance and passion. While in college, Natascha traveled to Beijing to live and study as an exchange student. Little did she know, the temporary trip would, in due time, lead to her lifelong journey as a chef and restaurant founder. While with her host family in China, Natascha adopted the culinary methodology of Nalu and Zhang Nu, the mother and daughter duo with whom Natascha stayed and would eventually come to call family. 

“Nalu taught me to grind pork with a cleaver and how to make potstickers from scratch. She also taught me to make Chinese Borscht, a heart-warming cabbage and tomato soup, (which I fell in love with instantly), and one of my original dish inspirations for starting The Ginger Pig,” Natascha recalls. “Nalu took me to a Chinese market and helped me pick out a wok and cleaver to bring back to the States. She lit a fire under my wok (and me) and showed me how much flavor is possible with simple, fresh ingredients.”

After backpacking and eating her way through Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Kunming, Manila, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and New Delhi, Natascha returned home where she played hockey at The University of Wisconsin. Natascha would pursue careers in sports broadcasting and law before finally settling into what had seemingly always been her calling. 

In 2016, Natascha and her husband Steve launched The Ginger Pig food truck, with the name inspired by Natascha’s affinity for the healing root and a friend’s pig named Ginger. They later debuted their first brick-and-mortar in Denver where their hopes of sharing Asian-inspired street food with hungry Coloradans were further satiated. Today, Natascha is deeply grateful for the opportunity to return to Boulder with another stationary establishment that not only honors her early teachings in Asia but pays homage to the city that made The Ginger Pig a reality. 

What Now Denver was fortunate enough to catch up with Natascha for further details about the exciting, incoming establishment: 

WND: There was talk of this Boulder location being take-out and delivery only. Is that true?

Natascha: Actually, we started off with that take-out and delivery model with big plans to do Door Dash and all that kind of stuff. But actually, in the spring, we plan on implementing rooftop seating to the building.

WND: Will the Boulder menu be changed or truncated?

Natascha: It will be a slightly smaller menu, but it’ll also have a bunch of new items that are exclusive to Boulder. For example, we’re going to do a vegan version of our Korean curry cornflake dog here in Boulder. There’ll be stuff in Denver that you can only get in Denver as well.

WND: How did the pandemic affect The Ginger Pig?

Natascha: The pandemic actually really helped us. About 53 percent of our business in Denver is takeout and delivery because people are more open to that model now, so I think we were one of the few beneficiaries of COVID. 

We actually opened our Denver location in October of 2020, which is a really scary time to open a restaurant, and we’ve been really, really lucky that the Denver community has been so receptive to our food. They’ve done so much takeout and delivery and it’s kept us in business and allowed us to grow — it’s amazing and surprising.

WND: Do you have plans for more expansion?

Natascha: Our next plan is to use our Boulder location as a ghost kitchen for another concept we’re working on. We’re hoping to debut that probably three or four months after we open this location.

WND: What are your hopes for this new Boulder location?

Natascha: I think it’s a really exciting opportunity for us to again be part of the community in Boulder. We missed it. It’s the community that originally supported us and loved us, which gave us the confidence to go to Denver and open a restaurant of our own. Most of our team of 14 met in Boulder, so it’s very special to us.

WND: Does The Ginger Pig truck still operate?

Natascha: We haven’t operated it [for a while], but we do plan on getting it going in the future. Right now it’s in the parking lot of the Denver restaurant acting as a big billboard.

WND: Do you have plans to return to Beijing?

Natascha: I don’t have definitive plans yet, but in my heart, it’s going to happen. 

Amanda Peukert

Amanda Peukert is a Los Angeles-based writer with a love for tattoos, music, food, and film. She received her BA and MFA in creative writing from California State University, Long Beach. Her work has appeared in/on SPIN, LA Taco, Tattoodo, Skin Deep, and Tattoo Energy. When she’s not writing, you can catch her listening to Alice in Chains and Tupac, or watching movies like The Crow and Halloween while eating tacos and drinking a cold beer.
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Ken Sherman
Ken Sherman
14 days ago

I know a little bit about the fabulous Ginger Pig story. You wrote an outstanding piece. I smiled and was unsurprised when I read you have an MFA in creative writing. The journalists that have written about the Ginger Pig have been first class— inspired by the special food and the inspiring back story, and writing beautifully. Your story is right up there with the high-quality journalism that has helped the Ginger Pig succeed and, importantly, has helped sophisticated food addicts find great choices, week after week.

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