Danish Restaurant Bornholm in Boerum Hill Trumped by Visa Problems?


After a year in business, a popular Danish restaurant on Smith Street’s restaurant row in Boerum Hill has shut up shop. The reason? The owners, Claudi and Lone Kofod, could not get a visa.

brooklyn restaurant trump visa bornholm 138 smith street boerum hill

The Kofods in front of the restaurant in 2016. Photo via Bornholm

A sign in the window of Bornholm at 138 Smith Street (and a similar notice on the restaurant’s website) reads:

Sorry. As we have been fighting to get our Visa for more than 14 months now and we still haven’t gotten it we have to leave the United States and go back to Denmark. Leaving the country also means that we have to close Bornholm. We want to thank all our customers for the support you have shown us during this past year. We hope to see you before we close down for good this Sunday at 3 pm after brunch.

brooklyn restaurant bornholm 138 smith street boerum hill

The patio in the back of the restaurant. Photo via Bornholm

A winner of OpenTable Diner’s Choice Award for 2017, the restaurant served made-from-scratch Danish-style food and baked goods, such as open-faced sandwiches, cod fishcakes, and braised pork belly with onion-apple jam.

The couple and their children moved to the U.S. in 2012 and opened the Danish Café in Red Bank, N.J. on an investor visa, renewed in 2014, according to local blog RedBank365. They have been “fighting to get our visa” since mid 2016 — back when Clinton seemed likely to win — and opened the Smith Street restaurant in August 2016. (The cafe in Red Bank is still open; the Kofods recently brought in partners.)

It's a rainy day so come and see Tina for a great breakfast or lunch at restaurant Bornholm #bornholm #breakfast #lunch #goodplacetoeat

Their last day in business was Sunday. However, there is hope the restaurant could open again, the owners told Brownstoner.

We reached out to the Kofods for more information about the visa difficulties. (The State Department, which issues visas, has been in “disarray” since Trump took office, according to news reports.)

brooklyn restaurant bornholm 138 smith street boerum hill

The sign on the restaurant window this morning

They declined to comment about the visa but said “the restaurant might open up again one way or another.”

“It may seem as a big step, and it sure is, but when we had the opportunity to follow our dream of living in the US, we gladly took it,” the duo wrote on Bornholm’s website when the restaurant opened.

[Photos by Susan De Vries unless noted otherwise]

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