You’re in luck. I found your favorite new lakeside getaway for the summer. And you won’t have to drive deep into the hinterlandia to get there, either. It’s a quick hop on and off the freeway from downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul and offers some of the best views of Lake Minnetonka. Park your boat or fanny dockside, procure a cocktail, and let the waves carry away your urban burden as smiling waitstaff inundate you with some of the best food beyond the Twin Cities.
And behold it I did with friends one sunny Wednesday afternoon a few weeks back. The converted Boatworks has been open just about a year and abuts Lake Minnetonka herself at the edge of downtown Wayzata. Walking through its doors, I was struck instantly by 6Smith’s ambitious charm. Ambitious being an apt understatement.
Owner Randy Stanley and his team succeeded in converting an old boatworks into a modern, contemporary gathering place. On a lake! An urban warehouse of tall ceilings and a sweeping open space one would expect in the North Loop that simultaneously complements its lakeshore setting, letting waves of blue from both sky and water wash across the main dining room. It’s like having dinner in an art gallery with living landscape paintings as your backdrop.
And you’re not just limited to a seat in the main dining room either. Depending on your mood, there’s ample outdoor seating dockside as well as a wonderful rooftop bar overlooking the lake. If you arrived by boat (fancy), there’s a slip with your name on it with access to a tasty to-go menu.
Speaking of menus… the only thing more ambitious than 6Smith’s footprint is, in fact, its menu. And if my experience is any indication, you’ll find yourself planning your next trip before you’ve even finished your first. Seriously.
This is a menu ripe with possibility. Lots of juicy, meaty possibility. With something for every appetite. And no matter what direction you go in, whether high-end steak and lobster or low-rent greasy burger and fries, you’re in good hands. The quality and thoughtfulness that goes into each plate on our table was apparent from the first bite to the last.
And there were a lot of bites worth mentioning.
For starters, don’t miss black pepper shrimp. They practically popped off our plate in tasty Technicolor thanks to their pickled pineapple, ginger, and black bean sauce.
If like me, you have an unnatural relationship with all things bacon, by all means order the bacon and bourbon. If, also like me, you don’t drink, hand your friend the bourbon and keep the bacon for yourself. Seems a fair trade.
One of the biggest surprises of the entire meal — and favorites of the table by far — were the baby back ribs. 6Smith smokes their own meat and, my friends, as a former Texan I can assure you, they smoke it well. The meat had just as much flavor as the sauce. Were there not a burger headed my way, I would’ve eaten more than one order myself.
Lucky for me, however, there was a burger headed my way. Not just any burger. They call it A Fat Burger. This beefy beauty is layered with bacon and onion jam, Fini cheddar fondue, Neuske’s bacon, and American cheese, all stuffed between a brown butter brioche bun.
Look, I love burgers. You’ve read about my burger tour. I would be proud to put this burger on my list of favorites. If you too fancy yourself a true burger lover, make sure to hit up 6Smith for Fat Pants Friday. The name couldn’t be any more appropriate. Each Friday a monstrous burger of gluttonous proportions is served up in limited quantity. A recent version combined, among other things, a burger, chicken tenders, mac and cheese, and bacon. On a bun. This is not for the faint of heart. Or anyone with an actual heart condition.
I’d also put 6Smith’s fries on a best list too. And not just their french fries. The beet and sweet potato fries deserve lots of warm and fuzzy love. Especially when dipped in lemon mayo. Frankly, the world needs more lemon mayo.
If by this point, you’ve eaten a healthy sum and think perhaps you have absolutely no room for dessert, I urge you to order the chocolate brownie sundae. This rich, chocolatey, almost custard-like brownie — topped with cookies and pretzels and Nutella whip — is mandatory. Truly a perfect end to an utterly satisfying meal.
So satisfying was our meal, dear reader, that I’ve already made reservations for a return visit. In fact, my partner and I decided 6Smith is the perfect place to celebrate our anniversary later this month. I have my eye on a ribeye and a certain lobster who goes by the name Thermidor.
I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than sitting lakeside on a summer evening enjoying great food. And I can’t imagine a better lakeside with better food than 6Smith in Wayzata. If you too are looking to flee the metro this summer or just want a great night out, join me.