The Bachelor Farmer restaurant has been collecting accolades since it opened in 2011 and earned the title of Restaurant of the Year. We tried to make reservations for our anniversary dinner with our friends who share the same anniversary in 2012 but were too late to get in... maybe because it was just 5 days after President Obama stopped there for lunch! This year we tried again and made it last night... never mind that it was more than two months after our anniversaries, it also happened to be my birthday!
What really struck me as we arrived in the area was how the restaurant seemed to present itself as an insider's secret destination. There were no signs... just the little name stenciled below the window on the entrance door. If you weren't looking for it, it is highly unlikely you would even know it was there aside from maybe wondering about all the awnings.
So... did it live up to all the hype? It was definitely worth the trip... comfortable, stylish ambiance that wasn't stuffy... friendly, knowledgable wait staff... delicious food with beautiful presentation, in serving sizes that allowed us share a variety of items from the menu without feeling stuffed.
We were welcomed with a bowl of radishes and wonderfully light flat bread. Neither my husband nor I are radish fans but these were delicious... I wonder if they came from their rooftop garden? We picked two appetizers and a toast to share... I especially liked the fried green tomatoes and kielbasa. I am usually not a sausage fan, but the kielbasa was fabulous! One of our diners is a big duck fan and orders it often... he said this was the best he had ever tasted! The only dish that didn't get rave reviews was the pork... not because it wasn't good, just because it wasn't as amazing as everything else we had.
The Bachelor Farmer restaurant is just one of three thriving ventures in this historic building carefully and artfully renovated by the Dayton brothers. Their Marvel Bar in the basement is even more hidden than the restaurant. There is no sign... and the entrance is outside in the back of the building through the mysterious purple door. People still find this hidden gem (think speakeasy) that gets rave reviews as a small craft bar where the bartenders study their craft as an art form.
You are more likely to see Askov Finlayson on the corner, adjoining The Bachelor Farmer behind it in the same building... it even has its name on the window. The final piece of the Dayton brother's transformation of this historic two-story building they re-developed and named Peer House, Askov Finlayson is an evolving store front featuring men's sportswear, outerwear and footwear... plus a variety of other items, including Japanese barware like they use downstairs in Marvel Bar.
This corner of of North 1st Street and 2nd Avenue North near the riverfront is just one example of how the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis is becoming a destination for dining and boutique shopping... in addition to the many new condos and historic lofts. Check out North Loop condos and lofts for sale in the Minneapolis warehouse district.