Although it's just over a year old, I finally had a chance to visit Northeast Minneapolis' Red Stag Supper Club. Sometime between the flatbread appetizer (local butter, farm raised pork, greens) and the special chocolate dessert (4 kinds of chocolate in the cake, house-made mint ice cream), Red Stag became my favorite restaurant in the city. Here's what came in between:
- An incredibly potent Red Stag cocktail, with jagermeister, blood orange juice, and other booze I've long forgotten.
- An assortment of breads and bean dip to munch on before the appetizer came.
- An amazing, locally grown pig - um, pork chop - served with whipped potatoes, braised cabbage, apple jam, sherry and mustard cream.
- My wife's scallop dinner, which was perfectly prepared, and definitively NOT locally raised.
So the food was amazing. The service was also great, the ambiance perfect, and parking plentiful and free.
It was only AFTER I had finished my meal that I realized that this was also a purpose driven restaurant, the first LEED-CI registered restaurant in Minnesota. (I looked it up and this means that the place has an commercial interior that's been certified as as green as it gets (LED lights, recycling, etc). Even the toilet offers "half flush" or "full flush" options). The list of farms in the menu is impressive as well - this is a place that serves as much local food as possible, uses extremely fresh ingredients, and is virtually self-sustaining.
And the best part of it is that I had no idea about all of this when I ate my meal - I just thought it was delicious food, expertly prepared, in a lovely environment. Here's what it says on the Red Stag About Us page (I left in most of it because it's THAT COOL):
The Red Stag Supper Club strives to be a good local & world citizen by serving local & organic foods as much as possible, conserving resources & composting waste, and by always being on the lookout as to how to better its business practices. The Red Stag Supper Club values its relationship with its customers, its workers, and the environment in which we all live [...] The owner, Kari Bartmann, and her sister, Kim, had been looking for a location in NE Minneapolis. They found a warehouse, formerly a mechanical contractor, and started the process. Because the ceiling was heavy timber Douglas fir, and because Kim was feeling a little nostalgic for northern Wisconsin, they decided to create a contemporized version of a supper club.
The Bryant Lake Bowl & Cabaret Theater and Barbette had been focusing on local foods for some time and that summer they had transitioned the block parties to be ‘zero-waste’ events, composting a majority of the trash. Some efforts had been underway to ‘green’ the businesses and become more sustainably focused and energy efficient.
Also in the summer of 07, managers at Barbette and Bryant Lake Bowl to the Natural Step Framework class given by Terry Gipps of the Alliance for Sustainability. Building out the new place under the framework of LEED seemed like the natural next step for that project. Restaurants use more energy and water than any other small business, costing them 30-40% of their entire operating budget.
Through using new technologies in the build out of the Stag, water use was cut by approximately 70%, and energy use cut almost in half. For instance, the Red Stag is the first facility in the country entirely lit by LED lights, which use 90% less electricity than incandescent bulbs. Eureka! Recycling assists us with composting our waste.
The Red Stag also features live music several nights a week. It's located at: 509 1st Avenue NE Minneapolis, MN 55413 612.767.7766 Please let me know what you think of the place.