Farmhouse Restaurant, Tatanka Truck, and More

Banner for the Tap: Food and Drink News

This week in the Tap: Farm-to-table comes to Madeline Island, Far North Spirits embarks on a crop study dedicated to producing better rye whiskey, a new native foods-focused food truck, and more.

shepherd-song-tap-logo-final-keylineThe Tap is a biweekly feature created by the Heavy Table and supported by Shepherd Song Farm. “We raise 100 percent grass-fed lambs & goats traditionally, humanely, and sustainably.”


The Tap is the metro area’s comprehensive restaurant buzz roundup, so if you see a new or newly shuttered restaurant, or anything that’s “coming soon,” email Tap editor James Norton at

Courtesy of Farmhouse
Courtesy of Farmhouse

Farmhouse Restaurant (launching late June 2015; Kickstarter campaign in progress)
Madeline Island, Wisconsin

A husband-and-wife team with experience at Dangerous Man Brewing and Red Stag Supper Club are working on a joint venture that will change the face of dining on Madeline Island. Located off the coast of Bayfield, Wisconsin, the island is famous for its wild beauty, but not particularly renowed for its food and drink scene (Tom’s Burned Down Cafe notwithstanding). This may change with the opening late this June of Farmhouse Restaurant — its proprietors hope to bring artisan roast coffee, aquaponics, and aggressive local sourcing to an island that is currently better known for its hard-drinking summer party scene.

Lauren Schuppe has spent nearly a decade working at two Kim Bartmann restaurants, Red Stag (where she spent two years managing the front of the house) and Barbette; her husband Gilpin Matthews has worked as a chef (among other places) at Bar Lurcat under Isaac Becker, and has most recently been working at Dangerous Man. Farmhouse will face the kind of challenges modern restaurants all around Lake Superior wrestle with — attracting the lucrative tourist trade while building deep community ties to sustain the business through the long winter.

“Anytime you’re a new person in a small town, you have a lot to prove,” says Schuppe. “Especially coming in with progressive ideas. But Madeline Island is its own little world, and it’s a progressive place. A lot of the year-round residents have had to homestead themselves, so I don’t think what we’re doing is too far off from what they have been exposed to.”

Courtesy of Farmhouse
Courtesy of Farmhouse

The restaurant’s progressive goals — a winter-time CSA program fueled by a fish-plus-plants closed loop system inspired by Milwaukee’s Growing Power program, small batch-roasted coffee, sustainable sourcing — will be paired with a menu designed to be welcoming.

“I think our goal is to match really accessible food with progressive ideas,” says Schuppe. “Don’t make the food anything that will turn people away … ‘high-brow’ is not at all what we’re going for. And kind of the same family recipes people are used to, but grown and sourced locally.”

Entrees will include the likes of daily housemade biscuits, house cured corned beef and hash, housemade granola, and some items focused on what Schuppe described as “dietary exploration”: gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian entrees.

As Schuppe and Matthews work to get the doors of Farmhouse open, they’re busily raising money on Kickstarter; their campaign has 18 days to go, and has raised more than $7,500 of its $16,650 goal.

Facebook screenshot
Facebook screenshot

Tatanka Truck
(launching May 2015)

The Little Earth community of Minneapolis is launching a food truck called Tatanka this May. The truck is being launched in consultation with “Sioux Chef” Sean Sherman; its Facebook page describes the project as “Minnesota’s first Healthy Native American Food Truck committed to promoting Native Health, Sustainability, & Community through traditional & modern indigenous foods.” As per its website: Its food will be GMO free, organic, and native made.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Far North Spirits (Embarking Upon Rye Study)

A press release from Far North Spirits details work on a crop research grant that could change the face of local spirits:

Far North Spirits, a micro-distillery located 400 miles northwest of Minneapolis on a 1,500 acre family farm, received from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture in February 2015 a three-year $188,495 crop research grant to complete a first-of-its-kind study to evaluate varieties of winter rye grown in Minnesota for agronomic performance in the field and flavor/sensory performance in the distilling industry.

Michael Swanson, owner, distiller and farmer at Far North Spirits, will administer the grant. His vision is to make Minnesota a leader in the production of world-class rye spirits.

“Kentucky owns bourbon. Scotland, scotch. Minnesota will own rye,” said Swanson. “Our rich soil and extreme climate are perfect for growing this grain. AC Hazlet Rye, our favored variety, is already recognized as our signature.”

Through field trials conducted on Minnesota farms and sensory analyses conducted at Minnesota distilleries, this project will result in a research report that will be valuable to Minnesota farmers, distillers, seed dealers, brewers and maltsters. The University of Minnesota Winter Rye Variety Performance Evaluation will conduct agronomic analysis to assess grain quality, winter hardiness, spring vigor, plant height, grain yield, resistance to lodging and other factors. Minnesota distillers will conduct sensory analysis on the rye to include distillate yield, initial viscosity, and assign a sensory score based on flavor and nose.

The finished study will include data on several varieties of winter rye and be a collaborative project involving several Minnesota farmers, distillers, the University of Minnesota Winter Rye Variety Performance Evaluation and the Barley and Malt Lab in the Department of Plant Sciences at North Dakota State University.

The goal is to provide producers and end users with an unbiased, reliable source of data, as well as the unique addition of flavor and sensory analysis. The report will be available publicly to all Minnesota farmers through the U of M and shared with micro-distillers nationwide via the American Distilling Institute.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters Benefit
Sunday, April 19, 6-8pm
Surly Brewery
, Scheid Hall, 520 Malcolm Ave. S, Minneapolis

The Piragis Northwoods Company is hosting a benefit to support the work of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters. The event features entertainment by the Roe Family Singers, and the $25 ticket includes a drink and a Campaign pint glass.

Via the press release:

The Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters is a national effort to prevent proposed sulfide-ore copper mining on the edges of the Boundary Waters and along waterways that flow into the Wilderness. The Campaign is dedicated to permanently protecting this national treasure and its wilderness-edge communities. Come and raise a pint with us, learn about the threat and how you can be part of the movement.

Becca Dilley Photography
Becca Dilley Photography

Bring your family, enjoy appetizers and kid-friendly music, and sign our traveling petition canoe!

Tickets are available online.


James Norton / Heavy Table
James Norton / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table


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  • Modern Cafe
  • Taste of Thailand
  • Twisted Fork | Our review
  • Spill the Wine
  • Nye’s Polonaise Room (closing 2015)



St. Paul

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table
  • 11 Wells Millwright Cocktail Room, Historic Hamm Building, St. Paul | Spring 2015
  • Lexington (new ownership), 1096 Grand Ave, St. Paul | Spring 2015
  • Saint Dinette, 280 E 5th St, St. Paul | Early 2015

Greater Twin Cities Area and Beyond

The Tap is the Heavy Table’s guide to area restaurant openings, closings, and other major events. The Tap is compiled and published biweekly by the Heavy Table. If you have tips for The Tap, please email James Norton at