"Where's the beef?" was Wendy’s official slogan during the mid-1980s, but those who live in and around Minneapolis certainly do not have to worry about fi nding that much-famed beef. Steakhouses are everywhere, and many of them off er private meeting and event space.
The Bludgeon of Beef. This 50-ounce steak is the signature menu item at Manny’s Steakhouse in Minneapolis. “It’s like you’re watching Fred Flintstone. It has many followers,” laughs Kip Clayton of Parasole Restaurant Holdings. “We also have two New York strip steaks and three rib eye that are classics. All of our beef (except for filet mignon) is dry-aged. We also have very large Nova Scotia lobsters and do a lot of surf ‘n’ turf entrees.”
Located in the W Minneapolis hotel, which is in the historic Foshay Tower, Manny’s, with its wooden floors and checkered tablecloths, makes guests feel like they are in New York City. “Manny’s is a classic New York-style steakhouse,” Clayton says. “It’s one of the iconic steakhouses in the world. It’s sort of larger than life. The first thing you see when you walk in is a huge painting of ‘Buster the Bull,’ kind of an iconic character. Everybody has their picture taken in front of it.”
The largest meeting space, the Bullpen, can accommodate up to 30 guests for a seated dinner. The Speakeasy can host up to 22 guests seated, and the Hideaway can host up to 14 guests seated.
How would you like to go to a restaurant, walk out back to a miniature rainbow trout stream, “go fishing,” have your catch cooked for, and then served to you for dinner? You can do that at Jax Café in Minneapolis.
“It’s very unique,” says owner Bill Kozlak. “Guests love our fish and seafood, which includes a live lobster tank.”
Jax is a steakhouse first and foremost, however. Popular meat entrees include prime rib, filet mignon and New York strip steak. The pork chop is also a favorite.
Now in its 84th year of operation, Jax must be doing something right. “We’re an oldschool steakhouse, probably one of the first ones in Minneapolis,” Kozlak says. “We’ve been family-owned since day one in 1933. My great grandfather built the building in 1910. Every wall in the restaurant is made of cherry wood and walnut wood.”
The largest of six private event spaces, the Cosmopolitan Room, can accommodate up to 280 guests seated and up to 320 standing. The University Room, the smallest event space, can host up to 30 guests seated. A mostly covered patio off the main dining room can accommodate up to 80 guests seated and up to 125 standing.
Opposites attract at Burch, a Minneapolis steakhouse that also offers Neapolitan-style pizza. “Our pizza is cooked in a wood fire, so you get a chewy crust and that black, char kind of flavor on the bottom and sides of the crust. We actually have a margherita pizza, which is mozzarella, tomato and fresh basil,” says General Manager Noel Grafing. “We have three different kinds of steak: grass-fed, prime and wagyu.”
Burch is a neighborhood restaurant with wooden floors—almost like a white-washed oak—navy blue banquettes, tall ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows around the entire restaurant. “We have an open kitchen, too,” Grafing says. “It’s a very modern, coollooking place.”
One private room can accommodate up to 50 guests seated and up to 60 standing. A private “kitchen table” can host up to 12 guests seated. A semiprivate space, which is one half of the dining area called the “kitchen side,” can accommodate up to 100 guests both seated and standing. There is also the Round Table Room that accommodates up to 110 and features a fireplace and bar.
“Artisan-inspired concept that caters to the urban suburban” is the slogan at 6Smith, a steakhouse in Wayzata in which guests are greeted by an industrial sheik interior. “We have the original foundation from the building, which is more than 100 years old … where they built the streetcar boats for Lake Minnetonka and the original hotels in the early 1900s,” says Director of Sales Andrew Stovern.
As for private event space, the Revel Room can accommodate up to 50 guests seated and up to 80 standing. The Knotty Room can host up to 16 guests seated and up to 25 standing. A covered patio off the Revel Room can accommodate up to 20 guests seated and up to 35 standing. A roof deck and a semiprivate dining area are also available.
Popular menu items include the rib eye and a flank steak with house-made chimichurri. Two favorite seafood entrees are the seared scallops made with house-made potato gnocchi and the miso-glazed seabass.
Fogo de Chão, Minneapolis
Guests who’ve been dining at Fogo de Chão, located in Minneapolis’ City Center, since its opening 10 years ago will notice a difference in the Brazilian steakhouse. In light of its recent renovation, Fogo de Chão is, actually, much brighter with the removal of its heavy window treatments in favor of sheer curtains (and not to mention the new white Carrara marble countertops found in the bar and Market Table). David Shea—CEO of the Minneapolis-based design firm Shea Inc. in charge of the renovation—calls the redesigned space “egalitarian” as well as “more open, functional and lively.”
Its expanded Bar Fogo serves, too, an expanded menu, featuring Brazilian bites like Xingu beer-braised beef rib sliders, Brazilian empanadas and garlic jumbo shrimp. Caipirinhas, Brazil’s national cocktail, are made to order in refreshing flavors.
Beautiful cuts of beef (as well as lamb, pork, fish and chicken) that are cooked using the traditional technique of churrasco (over an open flame) are carved and served tableside by Brazilian-trained gaucho chefs, and are still the core of Fogo’s long-standing success. Vegetarians need not worry here, as the bountiful Market Table & Feijoada Ba, which serves seasonal salads, soups, fresh vegetables, imported cheeses, feijoada and other Brazilian side dishes, can constitute a meal in and of itself
Fogo now features three private dining spaces that can seat 100-plus each, which come outfitted with audio-visual equipment. The onsite sales manager can customize group experiences, from a restaurant buyout, private (or semiprivate) dining space for 15-plus guests, or group dining in the main dining area.