Some new memories are about to be made on the river in Minneapolis. Storied St. Anthony Main is beginning a new chapter by turning back the page to its bawdy past. Restaurateurs Dean Schlaak and Tom DeGree of Wilde Roast Cafe along with longtime friend and business partner Brian Gilligan are embarking on a new culinary adventure.
They’ve opened Mattie St. Clair’s House of Spirits on Main Street, or “Mattie’s On Main” for short, in the 5,800 square foot space formerly occupied by Kikugawa. Think modern saloon meets gastropub.
“Tom came up with the name after looking up some of the history of the area on the web,” Dean proudly says of his husband. “The waterfront was filled with brothels and Mattie was one of the more notorious madams who lived near the site in the late 1800s.”
Craft-tinis with names like The Red Light, Sweet Vixen, and Taking Care of Business give a fun nod to the long departed madams. Then there’s the décor. Velvety red accent walls mixed with black and white houndstooth and paisley create a Moulin Rouge bordello chic vibe.
“It’s an amazing location and the historic nature of the building and what we’ve been able to convert it to lends itself so much to what we want to do,” says Brian, while standing next to the sleek black bar which faces dramatic views of the waterfront and city skyline. “We hope people will want to come here a couple of times a week. We want it to be a friendly neighborhood place kind of like Cheers.”
Of course food is going to play a big role in helping make that happen. And Le Cordon Bleu-trained Executive Chef Adam Icard is eager to meet the challenge. “We didn’t just want to have simple bar food like wings,” he insists. “Dean wanted to have a gastropub type feel to the menu, so the other 2 chefs and I approached this by deconstructing some familiar things and making them completely different . We even make our own condiments from scratch.”
Move over cheesy nachos. Icard celebrates Nordeast’s Norwegian roots with lefse nachos you can dip in a latin inspired pistachio guacamole.
VIP salad. Think chef’s salad meets cobb salad. Romaine lettuce tossed with buttermilk scallion dressing, ham, Roma tomatoes, julienned egg whites, with cheese curds. Eat small bites of the mixed salad, then finish with a bite of the cheese curd…OMG this is good!.
Buffalo Blue Cheese Spheres—Tasty take on wings only these are fried chicken meat balls…smear them in the cauliflower parsnip puree and buffalo blue cheese mornay sauce. (You won’t want share a bite with anyone, so make sure they order their own.)
The District—Signature burger. Butter lettuce, corn meal rice flour battered tomato for crunch, thick yellow onion, egg and Worcestershire beef patty on a light as air bun.
Tom and Dean say when they made the move from Hennepin Avenue a few years ago, “it was scary, we were going from 8 to 80 employees.” However, those fears quickly abated as their new neighbors embraced them. (Some of them even helped raise $40,000 for the new restaurant in a recent Kickstarter campaign. ) Now they are hoping their newest addition to the neighborhood will be met with the same enthusiasm. No doubt wherever she is, Mattie St. Clair will be cheering them on.
Good To Know:
43 Main St. SE Minneapolis, MN 55414
Summer lunch and dinner and late night music.
Saturday and Sunday brunch.
Full cocktail bar with 16 local craft beers on tap.
Wilde Roast pastry chef Jeff Christianson will make the desserts.
Park on the bottom level of the 2nd and Bank Garage near Nye’s, then you can walk directly into Mattie’s.