Top 100 Independents: The Great Lakes | Food Newsfeed
Eliesa Johnson

Spoon and Stable

Top 100 Independents: The Great Lakes

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Historic landmark restaurants, high-performers, outstanding new concepts—meet the best operators in cities that are gaining traction as culinary destinations.

By Sonya Chudgar, Sarah Niss, Bryan Reesman July 2015 Bar Management

Spoon and Stable

Minneapolis

The cuisine is American in thought and French in technique, with a foundation of classical sauces, bases, and cooking preparations.

Opened ∕ November 2014

Average Check ∕ $55

Chef/Owner ∕ Gavin Kaysen

112 Eatery

Minneapolis

Renowned for its tasty late-night dining (the restaurant is open until 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays), its chef won James Beard Best Chef: Midwest in 2011 and was a semifinalist for James Beard: Outstanding Chef in 2014.

Opened ∕ January 2005

Average Check ∕ $45 (estimate)

Chef/Owner ∕ Isaac Becker

Restaurant Alma

Minneapolis

Chef Roberts won James Beard Best Chef: Midwest in 2010, and the restaurant's three-course tasting menu features ingredients from artisanal producers of wine, cheese, and honey, with signature dishes such as Grilled Quail and Orecchiette Pasta.

Opened ∕ 1999

Average Check ∕ $52

Chef/Owner ∕ Alexander Roberts

The Bachelor Farmer

Minneapolis

The building that houses the restaurant was built in 1881 as a brick-and-timber warehouse, the restaurant grows its own produce in a garden on the roof, and the Nordic-influenced menu is updated weekly.

Opened ∕ August 2011

Average Check ∕ $25–$40 (estimate)

Owner ∕ Eric and Andrew Dayton

Chef ∕ Paul Berglund

La Belle Vie

Minneapolis

Elegant and sophisticated, this French-Mediterranean restaurant is one of the Twin Cities' most renowned eateries, with three tasting menus that radiate complexity and care. Chef McKee won James Beard Best Chef: Midwest in 2009.

Opened ∕ March 1998

Average Check ∕ $150 (estimate)

Chef/Owner ∕ Tim McKee

Heyday

Minneapolis

Chef Jim Christiansen's exploratory menu—a maze of colors, flavors, and imaginative small plates—includes proteins such as duck breast and spiced lamb. This is the newcomer that may be less well known, but other chefs say to check out.

Opened ∕ April 2014

Average Check ∕ $35–$55 (estimate)

Owner ∕ Michael Prickett

Borough & Parlour

Minneapolis

Borough

Playful and artistic define both the food and ambiance at this dynamic duo, which opened at the onset of the fast-growing North Loop neighborhood's revival. The upscale Borough features an open kitchen with a bright, airy dining experience while the complementary Parlour, where guests often start and end their evening, is a low-lit, cozy setting that's all about the cocktail, albeit with upscale bar snacks.

Opened ∕ January 2013

Annual Sales ∕ $3–$4 million

Average Check ∕ $65–$70

Owners ∕ Brent Frederick and Jacob Toledo, founders of Jester Concepts

Lucia's

Minneapolis

Chef Lucia Watson opened Lucia's as one of the first true farm-to-table restaurants with a menu that changes weekly and a focus on seasonal, local foods; she was the owner/operator for 30 years until selling the restaurant to Jason Jenny in December.

Opened ∕ February 1985

Annual Sales ∕ $3–$4 million

Average Check ∕ $25

Owner ∕ Jason Jenny

Roma Café

Detroit

The same family has owned and operated this landmark Italian restaurant since 1928, and—testament to the fact that its hospitality knows virtually no bounds—guests are welcomed with complimentary valet parking and shuttle service is provided to area sports and entertainment events.

Opened ∕ 1890

Annual Sales ∕ $2 million

Average Check ∕ $36 dinner, $18 lunch

Owners ∕ Janet Sossi Belcoure

Slurping Turtle

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Attracting newbies and Asian food lovers alike with its homemade noodles, Slurping Turtle epitomizes the best of the noodle shops of Japan and, on a personal level, of Chef Yagihashi's childhood experiences. Before opening Slurping Turtle, he won James Beard Best Chef: Midwest in 2003.

Opened ∕ April 2014

Annual Sales ∕ $2 million

Average Check ∕ $24

Chef/Owner ∕ Takashi Yagihashi

Grove

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Selected as Business Insider's Best Restaurant in Michigan in 2015, Grove highlights New American cuisine with a focus on local and seasonal ingredients.

Opened ∕ September 2011

Annual Sales ∕ $2–$3 million

Average Check ∕ $53

Owners ∕ James Berg, managing partner; Jeff Gietzen, partner; Brad Teachout, director of operations; and Patrick Wise, executive chef

Café Benelux

Milwaukee

In this beer-focused European café—the bier menu has 50 pages, including three exclusives direct from the Lowlands Brewing Company in Ertvelde, Belgium—Chef Justin Fuhrman celebrates the culture and food of Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, with signature favorites like pannenkoeken, a thick Belgian crepe.

Opened ∕ June 2011

Annual Sales ∕ $5–$8 million

Average Check ∕ $18–$20

Owners ∕ Mike Eitel and Eric Wagner

Ardent

Milwaukee

A finalist for James Beard Best Chef: Midwest this year, Chef Justin Carlisle puts a creative spin on Ardent operations. In the intimate 23-seat space, chefs serve, servers cook, and on weekend nights after two seatings of an upscale prix fixe menu, the restaurant converts to a Ramen shop, which serves 120 diners in 90 minutes.

Opened ∕ October 2013

Annual Sales ∕ $460,00–$500,000

Average Check ∕ $100

Chef/Owner ∕ Justin Carlisle