Norway native Kristian Pedersen is a warrior of Brevard Court. The owner of Vintage Wine Lounge, Courtyard Hooligans and Valhalla Pub & Eatery — all of which operate in the quarters — Pederson took to the restaurant biz three years ago. His exclusively Scandinavian restaurant, Valhalla Pub & Eatery (317 S. Church St.), is his latest conquest. Named after the massive hall for the gods in Norse mythology, the spot is the only eatery offering hearty Viking fare in the Q.C. It's also a place where you'd look less weird sporting body armor or horned hats (considering that it fits the theme), though you don't have to be a tough guy/gal to get a table here, nor do you have to worry about the power of Thor's swinging hammer.
Creative Loafing: What inspired you to open a restaurant devoted to Scandinavian fare?
Kristian Pedersen: I wanted to create a place where different communities can get together. And why not also my own community, the Scandinavian community? I was also hungry one day and I wanted my mom's food. That's kind of how it all came about. I first opened up Courtyard Hooligan's, which is a soccer bar, and then I saw this new opportunity.
What are some of the most Scandinavian dishes at the restaurant? And how have you put a Scandinavian twist on the burgers?
We're meat and potato people. I'd say Swedish meatballs, salmon dishes and pork/pot roast. The two burgers we have are made different than other burgers. We have them made out of a beef and pork mix, so it's kind of a spin-off from the meatballs. There's the Viking burger and the Norwegian burger with a fried egg on top.
Can you tell me about the upcoming Norwegian Christmas Spread?
Yeah, we're doing a traditional Norwegian Christmas dinner on Dec. 17 and 18 at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. We'll have pork rib. The difference between a Norwegian pork rib and the ribs you have here is that the pork skin is left on it. We actually make bacon out of it. So, when you get your rib, it's actually about two inches thick with bacon on top and bacon on the bottom. It also includes traditional Norwegian Christmas sausage, meatballs and turkey as well; those are the meats that go with it. We also have sauerkraut (red cabbage and white cabbage), potatoes, a carrot salad and a couple of other smaller things. Desert is my mom's surprise. Everything will be 100 percent Scandinavian. Also, there's a Christmas drink called Aquavit, and we'll have Glogg and red wine, as well as alcohol-free options. The spread is for 30 people per session and it's by reservation only (704-332-3273).