The Misfits collective sets the suburbs on fire

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Even as restaurants become safer again, few, if any, seem to want to take up a huge amount of space. Labor shortages and supply chain issues, not to mention high rents per square meter, make some of those huge 300+ seats in the suburbs feel a little too risky. Unless, of course, you’re a risk taker, used to betting on spots that other restaurateurs would never hit. Tony Donatell, Dan Bennett and Ralena Young have made a habit of turning vacant restaurants in the Applebee suburb into independent neighborhood restaurants like Tequila Butcher in Chanhassen and Whiskey Inferno in Savage.

Their latest business, The Misfits Collective in Apple Valley, at 9,000 square feet (plus 2,000 on the patio) – is their largest yet and shows a whole new way to use all that space. They divided the old Poor Richard’s into four different concepts. It is not a dining hall, as all are under one system and unified by design and ownership. But he divides the space into different types of experiences: a cafe with a workspace open all day; an upscale cocktail bar with wood-fired pizzas; an outdoor patio with its own bar and grill serving charred food from around the world; and a full-service restaurant with an open fire cooking line that makes dining with the family easy as well as the experience of a chef at the counter.

It’s ambitious, with four different concept menus from a single kitchen, and he doesn’t hesitate to serve octopus and smoked cocktails in an area of ​​the metro heavily populated by chain restaurants. But this crew paid attention to the Suburban Eater better than most and are willing to bet these eaters are looking for something a little out of the way, a little different. Maybe we all need to bet on misfits every now and then?

The Vagabond

Outside, in lush conditions, the patio makes you feel like you are on vacation (instead of shopping complex parking). The menu in this region gives you a taste of distant cuisine, most of which comes from the outdoor grill anchoring the patio and providing the right smells. The pork belly tacos al pastor with caramelized pineapple, the roasted elotes on a stick, and the quesa birria tacos were all part of the celebration of Mexico, which will turn to another global location. The drinks lean towards the tiki without being bound by tradition. Mezcal, coconut liqueurs, and Japanese yuzu whiskey all raise the cocktail list beyond the rum-and-juice cliché. Fireplaces will keep this space open as long as possible.

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At the bar in the center of the room, the bartenders perform a real magic of cocktails with steaming bubbles and layers of infusions for drinks that are both sharp and very drinkable. You order at the bar, even though you’ve grabbed one of the high tables, which seem like prime choices during happy hours twice a day ($ 5 beer and bump plus drinks at half price). The ratio is all about balance, and if you don’t go with one of their creative pieces, the bartenders will take your favorite spirit and create something for you based on the “Golden Ratio”. To keep you supported and balanced, Square Detroit-style pizzas come in two sizes and in many flavors: White Pizza with Chicken, Broccolini, Ricotta and Pickled Habaneros is a fresh alternative, but a must-have is Wood-Fired Pizza. stuffed into slices. Or the grilled Caesar.

More curious coffee

With a playful nod to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the café-bar and the workspace are open all day for eating and drinking like a café. Food ranges from breakfast burritos or cookies and gravy to creative sandwiches, including a Croque Madame or Appalachian with chili cheese, fried bologna and green tomatoes. Coffee drinks are both serious, with Intelligentsia or Peace coffee beans in your cold or pour-over brew, and playful, with Instagram’s famous Dalgona whipped coffee and others boosted by macadamia nut milk. or orange blossom water. This is basically an essay by an artisan bartender in a cafe, so of course Ralena Young would include a few signature drinks (since she has the liquor license): The Curiously Old Fashioned uses bourbon, rye and espresso with reduced brown sugar content to give it a backbone of the coffee aroma.

Eighth light

Chef Dan Bennett is a devotee of the fire maven Francis Mallmann, who teaches the seven fires of the kitchen. The Eighth Fire is about the fire that forges community, brings people together around bigger dishes (whole fish, whole chicken, big chops) and sharing plates. This is high heat cooking, which means the eighth fire burns wooden cords every day to light the grills and all food is affected by the flames in some way. . From carrots and gnocchi to lamb shank and scallops cooked on a log: all the plates to share, all come out of the fire. A whole chicken is fire roasted in an open bottom smoker, creating an incredibly tender bird and just kissed with a light smoke so it doesn’t overwhelm the shiny chimichurri sauce on the plate. This concept offers full-service dining seating, but the best is the chef’s table: eight seats along the kitchen bar where you can smell the fire burning while the chefs cook and serve you straight from the line. . There are some nice, lightly smoked cocktails that go with this food – the Golden Pineapple or the Smoked Onyx Manhattan are especially special.

14889 Florence Tr., Apple Valley, 952-236-8115, themisfitscollective.co

Stephanie March

Food and restaurant editor-in-chief Stephanie March writes and edits the Eat + Drink section of Mpls.St. Paul magazine. She can also be heard on Saturdays on her myTalk107.1 radio show, Weekly Dish, where she talks about the Twin Cities food scene.

Read more about Stéphanie March

September 29, 2021

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